More than a decade ago, novelist Rodrigo Rey Rosa made his first visit to the Historical Archive of the Guatemala National Police, where millions of previously hidden records were being cataloged, scanned, and eventually published online. Bringing to light detailed evidence of crimes against humanity, the Archive Recovery Project inspired Rey Rosa to craft a meta-novel that weaves the language of arrest records and surveillance reports with the contemporary journal entries of a novelist (named Rodrigo) who is attempting to synthesize the stories of political activists, indigenous people, and other women and men who became ensnared in a deadly web of state-sponsored terrorism.
When Rodrigo's access to the archive is suspended, he proceeds to the General Archives of Central America and the Library of Congress, also collaborating with the son of the Identification Bureau's former head in a relentless pursuit of understanding. Reminiscent of Roberto Bolaño's finely honed masterworks, Human Matter is both a tour de force of fiction and a sobering meditation on the realities of collective memory, raising timely questions about how our history is recorded and retold.
Originally published in Spanish in 2009, its success demanded a subsequent publication in June of 2017.
Rodrigo Rey Rosa is the author of many acclaimed novels and short-story collections, among them Severina and La orilla africana (The African Shore). He is the recipient of one of Guatemala’s most distinguished literary prizes, the Miguel Ángel Asturias National Prize in Literature, as well as the prestigious José Donoso Prize. The film What Sebastian Dreamtbased on one of his novelswas featured at the Sundance Film Festival.
Table of Contents
First Notebook: Modo & Modo
Second Notebook: Black Binding
Pages Attached to the Second Notebook
First Sketchbook: Green Cover with Indian Motifs
Pages Attached to the First Sketchbook
Third Notebook: White Cover
Second Sketchbook: Don Quixote
Fourth Notebook: Red and Blue Stripes on a White Background
Pages Attached to the Fourth Notebook
Third Sketchbook: “Scribe”
Fourth Sketchbook: Leather Cover, No Branding, No Name
Fifth Sketchbook: Spanish Binding
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