by Rodrigo Rey Rosa


Imagine a situation involving a man with two lives moving in opposite directions simultaneously, one of which goes toward the future in usual fashion (from today to tomorrow, from childhood to maturity, and on to old age), while the other life goes toward the past. Thus, inside the child born in 1910, there lived a man in his eighties. This would explain how in 1930 Gertrude Stein, after exchanging letters, was convinced that her correspondent was a gentleman of at least seventy. So that today we have an octogenarian in whom is imprisoned a child traveling into the past. And this explains how one forgets that he is old, and how being in his company provides a delight similar to that provoked, as if through contagion, by the presence of small children. More than half a century ago those attempting to educate him considered him a stubborn youth; they warned him that unless he studied music as tradition demanded, he would never succeed in being a composer. But they were unaware that this student needed no other teacher than himself, because in spite of his youthful appearance he had already made the return trip.

Tangier, 1995

Copyright 1995, Rodrigo Rey Rosa


Rodrigo Rey Rosa and Paul Bowles in Tangier, Morocco, 1986


Rodrigo Rey Rosa

RODRIGO REY ROSA was born in Guatemala on November 4, 1958. He has written three short story collections and seven novels, including The Good Cripple, The Pelcari Project, Dust on Her Tongue, and Ning�n Lugar Sagrado. Some of his works have been translated into English by Paul Bowles and into French by Claude Nathalie Thomas. Other translations of his novels and stories are in Italian, German, Dutch, Danish, Portuguese and Japanese. Rey Rosa is the literary heir of the estate of Paul Bowles and Jane Bowles.

Rey Rosa's first feature film, What Sebastian Dreamt, based on his own novel, Lo que so�� Sebasti�n, was premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Rodrigo Rey Rosa was awarded Guatemala's National Prize in Literature named after Miguel �ngel Asturias, the poet, novelist, diplomat, and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1967.



Literary Works (Obras):

The Path Doubles Back, translated from the Spanish by Paul Bowles, with Illustrations by David Craven  (New York: Red Ozier Press, 1982)


"The Release", translated from the Spanish by Paul Bowles (Berkeley, California: The Threepenny Review, 18, Summer 1984)


"The River Bed", translated from the Spanish by Paul Bowles (Berkeley, California: The Threepenny Review, 19, Fall1984)

The Beggar's Knife, translated from the Spanish by Paul Bowles (San Francisco: City Lights Publishers, 1985; London: Peter Owen, 1988)  [English]

El cuchillo del mendigo (Guatemala: Publicaciones Vista, 1986)

Dust on Her Tongue, translated from the Spanish by Paul Bowles (London: Peter Owen Ltd., 1989; San Francisco: City Lights Review, No. 3, 1989; San Francisco: City Lights Publishers, 1992)  [Stories, in English]

C�rcel de �rboles (Guatemala: Fundaci�n Guatemalteca para las Letras, 1991; Guatemala: Ministerio de Cultura y Deportes, 2005)

Toros by Miquel Barcel�, (Z�rich: �dition Galerie Bruno Bischofberger, 1991). (English and Spanish texts by Rodrigo Rey Rosa)

El cuchillo del mendigo; El agua quieta (Barcelona: Seix Barral, 1992)

C�rcel de �rboles (El salvador de buques). (Barcelona: Seix Barral, 1992)

El salvador de buques (Guatemala: Publicaciones Vista, 1993)  [Novella]

"The Proof" (Worlds of Fiction, edited by Roberta Rubenstein and Charles R. Larson, MacMillan College Division, 1993)  [translated by Paul Bowles]

Lo que so�� Sebasti�n (Barcelona: Seix Barral, 1994)  [Novella]

Con cinco barajas: antolog�a personal (M�xico: Universidad Nacional Auton�ma de M�xico—UNAM, 1996)

El cojo bueno (Madrid: Alfaguara, 1996)  [Novella]

Que me maten si  (Barcelona: Seix Barral, 1997)  [Novella]

Un R�ve en for�t; Le Temps imparti et autres nouvelles, traduit par Anny Amberni (Paris: Gallimard, 1997)

The Pelcari Project  / C�rcel de �rboles, translated from the Spanish by Paul Bowles (London: Peter Owen, 1991; Tiburon-Belvedere, California: Cadmus Editions; 1997)  [English]

Ning�n lugar sagrado (Barcelona: Seix Barral, 1998)

La orilla africana (Barcelona: Seix Barral, 1999)  [Novella]

Le Silence des eaux, traduit de l'espagnol par Andr� Gabastou (Paris: Gallimard, 1999)

Piedras encantadas (Barcelona: Seix Barral, 2001); Pierres enchant�es, traduit de l'espagnol par Andr� Gabastou (Paris: Gallimard, 2005)  [Novella]

El tren a Travancore (Cartas indias), (Barcelona: Mondadori, 2001)

Miquel Barcel�, L'Ours bless� (K�ln, Deutschland: Jablonka Galerie, 2001). (English and Spanish text by Rodrigo Rey Rosa)

"Business for the Millennium" (Brooklyn, New York: BOMB magazine, issue 74, winter 2001)

L'Ange boiteux (Paris: Gallimard, 2002)

Noche de piedras (Guatemala: Ediciones del Pensativo, 2002)  [Novella]

The Good Cripple, translated from the Spanish by Esther Allen (New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 2004)  [Novel, in English]

Otro zoo (Guatemala: Ediciones del Pensativo, 2005; Barcelona: Siex Barral, forthcoming in spring 2007)

Caballeriza (Barcelona: Editorial Siex Barral, 2006; Guatemala: Ediciones del Pensativo, 2006)  [Novella]

"Bowles y yo" (Madrid, Espa�a: Letra Internacional, n� 93, Invierno, 2006)

Siempre juntos y otros cuentos (Oaxaca, M�xico; Madrid, Espa�a: Editorial Almad�a, 2008)

El material humano (Madrid: Editorial Anagrama, 2009)

Severina (Madrid: Alfaguara / Santillana Ediciones Generales S.L., August 2011; Miami, Florida: Santillana USA Publishing Co., November 2011; Spanish, paperback novela)

Los sordos (Madrid: Alfaguara / Santillana Ediciones Generales S.L., 2012; novela)



Lo que so�� Sebasti�n (What Sebasti�n Dreamt) an 83-minute film, premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, and was also presented at the Berlin Film Festival. Lo que so�� Sebasti�n is dedicated to Paul Bowles, with music by Bowles and additional music by Elliott Sharp.

Read a Spanish biography of Rodrigo Rodrigo Rey Rosa and a bibliography of his works (also in Spanish), by clicking here.

Photographs of Rodrigo Rey Rosa may be found on this page.

Entrevista / Interview

Jeffrey Gray, "Placing the Placeless: a Conversation with Rodrigo Rey Rosa" (Raleigh, North Carolina: A Contracorriente: A Journal on Social History and Literature in Latin America, North Carolina State University, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Vol. 4, No. 2, Winter 2007, 160-186). (This interview took place on May 21, 2001 in New York City.) Read this interview.)

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