The twenty stories collected in this volume offer not only a comprehensive look at the variety and invention of Bolivian literature, but also provide more information about the heart and soul of Bolivia than a warehouse full of news reports. The most comprehensive collection of modern Bolivian literature yet published in English, The Fat Man from La Paz offers a kaleidoscopic view of the country’s last fifty years, from a sociological and cultural viewpoint.
The Fat Man from La Paz places such Bolivian luminaries as Augusto Cespedes, whose The Well is probably the most published piece of Bolivian literature, alongside bright young stars like Edmundo Paz Soldan, one of last year’s finalists for the Romulo Gallegos Literary Prize (the Nobel prize for Latin American writers). In the title story, Gonzalo Lema’s “The Fat Man from La Paz,” a Bolivian detective, with a nod to Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, takes a hard look at corruption in Bolivia’s capital city and learns a thing or two about the dark ambiguities lurking in human nature and in the communities people build. Many of the other stories in The Fat Man from La Paz appear here for the first time in English.