6 Excellent, Must-Read Books by Award-winning Author Eduardo Halfon
Eduardo Halfon books are among the most popular Latin American literary works in the English-speaking world right now.
You have to read this article to find out. It has to do with attempting to define one’s identity and searching for answers about one’s own past.
But first, let’s discuss why you should read literature in Spanish, who Eduardo Halfon is, and why you should read his books.
Then, we’ll explore 6 excellent, must-read Eduardo Halfon books.
Benefits of Reading Literature in Spanish
Spanish learners engage in activities to develop their language skills. Specifically, speaking, listening, writing, and reading activities such as learning new vocabulary, doing grammar exercises, and engaging in Spanish conversations.
But, what about reading literature in Spanish?
For at least the past two decades, “literature has been considered as an influential tool and trend in foreign language teaching.” The relationship between literature and language is clear and undeniable. Study after study finds that reading literature in your goal language boosts your learning progress.
The benefits or reading literature in Spanish include:
- Keeping students motivated
- Offering a pleasant alternative to traditional methods of instruction
- Using grammar actively
- Getting familiar with the application of the language in different contexts
- Applying language learning in a natural and meaningful way
- Learning idiomatic expressions
Eduardo Halfon Biography
Eduardo Halfon is one of the most recognized Guatemalan writers alive today. Born in Guatemala City in 1971, his family moved to the United States when he was 10 years old. Halfon went to school in Florida and attended college in North Carolina. He returned to Guatemala to teach literature at the university level and currently lives in Paris.
In 2007, the Hay Festival of Bogotá named Eduardo Halfon one of the 39 best young Latin American writers. In 2011, he won a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2018, he won Guatemala’s National Prize in Literature, the country’s highest literary honor. He’s also received several international awards for his work.
Why Should You Read Eduardo Halfon Books?
If the previous list of achievements didn’t convince you to read Eduardo Halfon books, perhaps his style and recurrent themes will.
In Halfon’s work, the ideas of identity and uprootedness are always present, as well as that of personal history. Halfon does it by pushing the boundaries of fiction storytelling. He follows in the footsteps of the greatest Latin American authors of all time.
Find out for yourself with this list of excellent books!
6 Extraordinary Eduardo Halfon Books
It’s time to learn a bit about the 6 best Eduardo Halfon books. Each title includes a summary and links to the book versions available for purchase.
1. The Polish Boxer (El boxeador polaco)
The Polish Boxer is easily Eduardo Halfon’s most famous book and one of his most intriguing works. Halfon himself is the narrator who participates in the series of short stories in this collection. Each has an underlying thematic connection that earns it the label of novel.
A Polish prisoner and his enigmatic tattoo, a Mayan poet, and a Serbian classical pianist all appear in this kaleidoscopic book. I recommend reading this short story in English (an excerpt from the book). Experience for yourself the captivating writing style of Halfon.
2. Mourning (Duelo)
While The Polish Boxer is Halfon’s most famous book, Mourning might be his most acclaimed one. Winner of several literary awards, this book is a continuation of Halfon’s constant exploration of his own past.
Presented in a series of short stories that makes its reading easier, Halfon travels to Poland, Italy, the U.S., and Guatemala. He searches his own family’s mythology, only to find mourning and loss.
3. Monastery (Monasterio)
The third and last of Eduardo Halfon’s English-translated books is Monastery. It tells the story of a young Guatemalan man traveling to Israel for his sister’s wedding and confronting his Jewish identity.
As it happens, that Guatemalan guy is the author himself, exploring his recurrent themes of identity, origins, and family. In this case, he does so with a simpler style. This makes Monastery the ideal book for a Spanish learner to start exploring Halfon’s work.
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4. Signor Hoffman (Signor Hoffman)
Signor Hoffman is one of the most popular Eduardo Halfon books in Latin America. That might have something to do with the fact that, in this work, his style is similar to magical realism. The genre put Latin American literature in the international spotlight in the mid-20th century.
Halfon is still traveling the world in search for answers to his family story and his own identity. Reading Signor Hoffman as a sequel to Monastery, you start finding connections between the whole of Halfon’s work.
5. Song (Canción)
Many Halfon enthusiasts consider Canción to be his best novel yet. It certainly qualifies as one of his most personal books in a portfolio full of personal exploration stories.
This time, the background is Guatemala’s civil war and the kidnapping of a man named Eduardo Halfon. His grandson (and the narrator), also named Eduardo Halfon, travels to Japan seeking clues about the kidnapping. He discovers that history, and life itself, are never as black and white as we would like them to be.
6. Oh Ghetto My Love (Oh gueto mi amor)
The prequel to Oh Ghetto My Love is none other than The Polish Boxer, in which Halfon’s grandfather revealed a secret from his past in Auschwitz.
David de las Heras illustrates this book, making the exploration of the Polish city of Lodz even more fascinating. But, with Halfon a simple trip is never just that. It usually involves a soul searching exploration.
Learn Spanish by Reading Spanish
Learning Spanish is a process that involves many aspects. Reading good literature is one of the most enjoyable ways to continue improving your Spanish language skills. And Eduardo Halfon books are some of the most modern and interesting Spanish texts on the market right now.
Remember that by learning Spanish, you open a door to a whole different world, like the one in Eduardo Halfon’s books. This open door empowers you to talk to more people and learn more about the world. The U.S. alone is home to over 50 million Spanish speakers.
Sign up for a free class with one of our certified, native-speaking teachers from Guatemala. Make the most of our flexible scheduling and tailored Spanish packages to start opening new doors for yourself.
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