Miguel Ángel Asturias’ Mr. President by Penguin Classics

Penguin Classics are my favorite line of books. You will recognize them with the classic feel of dedicated symmetrical covers. I love the carefully picked artwork for each book. When you hold a Penguin Classics, you are in for a treat for your brain. I will be honest I buy them just for the forwards of each book. Miguel Ángel Asturias’s Mr. President gets the royal treatment from Penguin. I really love the striking cover. My ever-growing collection of Penguin Classics is getting a new addition with Miguel Ángel Asturias’s Mr. President.

Nobel Prize-winning Guatemalan author Miguel Ángel Asturias’s masterpiece—the original Latin American dictator novel and pioneering work of magical realism—in its first new English translation in more than half a century, featuring a foreword by Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa

In an unnamed country, an egomaniacal dictator scheme to dispose of a political adversary and maintain his grip on power. As tyranny takes hold, everyone is forced to choose between compromise and death. Inspired by life under the regime of President Manuel Estrada Cabrera of Guatemala, where it was banned for many years, and infused with exuberant lyricism, Mayan symbolism, and Guatemalan vernacular, Nobel Prize winner Miguel Ángel Asturias’s magnum opus is at once a surrealist masterpiece, a blade-sharp satire of totalitarianism, and a gripping portrait of psychological terror.

Miguel Ángel Asturias (1899-1974) was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1967. A poet, diplomat, and novelist from Guatemala, he studied law in his home country before continuing his studies in Paris, where he encountered the surrealist writings that would deeply influence his work. In addition to being a prolific writer, he worked as a newspaper correspondent in western Europe and later as an ambassador for Guatemala in Europe and Latin America. He wrote numerous works of fiction, poetry, drama, and essays, including the novels Mr. President and Men of Maize.

David Unger (translator) has received Guatemala’s Miguel Ángel Asturias National Literature Prize for Lifetime Achievement. He is the author of several novels, including The Mastermind, The Price of Escape, and Life in the Damn Tropics, and has translated more than a dozen books from Spanish into English. His short stories and essays have been published in The Paris Review, Guernica, and Bomb. Born in Guatemala, Unger now lives in Brooklyn.

Mario Vargas Llosa (foreword) was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2010. He has also won the Spanish-speaking world’s most distinguished literary honor, the Cervantes Prize, as well as the Jerusalem Prize and many other literary awards. His many novels include The Feast of the GoatAunt Julia and the ScriptwriterThe War of the End of the WorldThe Bad GirlConversation in the Cathedral, and Harsh Times. Born in Peru, Vargas Llosa now lives in Madrid.

Gerald Martin (introduction) is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor Emeritus of Modern Languages at the University of Pittsburgh. Among his publications is Gabriel García Márquez: A Life and a translation and critical edition of Miguel Ángel Asturias’s Men of Maize. Martin lives in England.