Set on a desolate, unnamed mesa, Emiliano Monge’s The Arid Sky distills the essence of a Latin America ruthlessly hollowed out by uncontainable violence. This is an unsparing yet magnificent land, whose only constants are loneliness, hatred, loyalty, and the struggle to return some small measure of meaning to life.
Thundering and inventive, The Arid Sky narrates the signature moments in the life of Germán Alcantara Carnero: a man who is both exaltedly, viscerally real and is an ageless, nameless being capable of embodying entire eras, cultures, and conflicts. Monge’s roadmap—an escape across borders, the disappearance of a young girl, the confrontation between a father and his son, the birth of a sick child, and murder—takes readers on a journey to the core of humankind that posits a challenge of the kind only great literature can pose.
“A blood-soaked yet lyrical story of regrets, memories, and the faint possibility of redemption, set in a parched Mexican mesa. Monge's first novel to be translated into English will open one of Mexico's most talented young writers to a new audience... Monge's sentences reflect the meandering structure, dizzying the reader with complexity and beauty….this style reflects Monge's overall message about the morphing shape of memories and how they all combine to form a person….Monge's novel is a brutal gem of a book concerned with the burdens of the past.”
“Rarely can we witness literature like this.” —Miguel Ángel Ángeles, Rolling Stone
Emiliano Monge (Mexico City, 1978) studied Political Science at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. His first short story collection, Arrastrar esa sombra, was published in 2008, followed by the novel Morirse de memoria; both were finalists for the Antonin Artaud Award. With a wide array of non-fiction essays, reportage, and book reviews, he has been an ongoing contributor to the Spanish newspaper El País, the Mexican newspaper Reforma, and prestigious magazines such as Letras Libres and Gatopardo. He is the two-time recipient of the Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes Conaculta award, and is now a member of the “Orden del Finnegans,” a group of Spanish-language writers that gathers annually on Bloomsday in Dublin in honor of Joyce’s Ulysses. In 2011, the Guadalajara International Book Fair chose him as one of the top 25 best-kept secrets in contemporary Latin American literature, and in 2013 he was awarded the Corte Inglés prize “Otros ámbitos, otras voces.” He was also selected for “México20”, a list of twenty important young Mexican authors chosen by The British Council, the Guadalajara International Book Fair, the Hay Festival, and Conaculta. The Arid Sky is his first book to be published in English translation.
About the Translator: