“Es war eine perfekte Struktur, weil es eine freudige und freiwillige Unterwerfungsübung war. Fragen gab es keine, nur Begeisterung. Und jede Menge Glaube. Blinde Ergebenheit. Chávez forever.”
Venezuelan writer Alberto Barrera Tyszka carries on the Latin-American genre of the dictator novel in a subversive, shrill masterpiece. What is the essence of demagogic and charismatic, authoritarian rule? What political and moral vacuum does it leave behind? The inhabitants of a house in Caracas become enthralled fellow players in the final weeks of Comandante Hugo Chávez. No matter whether believers, skeptics, cynics or previously uninvolved – Chávez has eaten himself into their daily lives as an omnipresent theme. Simple polarization is insufficient. Matthias Strobel makes the pitches of this psychologically nuanced and multi-perspective novel resound in skillfully coarsened and subtle language. — Marko Martin
Alberto Barrera Tyszka, born in Caracas in 1960, is a writer, screenwriter and journalist. He studied literature at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, where he also teaches. He and Cristina Marcano published a biography of Hugo Chávez (Hugo Chávez sin uniforme. Una historia personal) in 2005. In 2006, Barrera Tyszka was awarded the Premio Herralde de Novela for La enfermedad, and in 2015 he received the Premio Tusquets de Novela for Patria o muerte (Die letzten Tage des Comandante).
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Matthias Strobel, born in Gernsbach in 1967, studied contemporary German literature and Spanish in Tübingen, Hamburg and Madrid and now lives in Berlin. He works as a translator and Rolfing practitioner. Matthias Strobel’s translations include works by the Peruvian writer Alfredo Bryce Echenique, the Argentinean author Federico Axat and the Mexican screenwriter and author Guillermo Arriaga. In 2014, he received the Offenburg European Translator’s Award.