Finding a Gypsy

Eduardo Halfon and Mattis Øybø

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Backyard Boom Eduardo Halfon and Mattis Øybø

Guatemalan writer Eduardo Halfon is a central voice in the new wave of literature from Central America and the Caribbean.

The episodic and absurd novel The Polish Boxer moves between the university campus in Guatemala City to the Balkan of gypsys via the Nazis’ concentration camps. The traveler is a university teacher searching for a pianist who might be a gypsy.

But he is also searching for his own family history: At the center of the story is his grandfather, with a number tattooed on his forearm. Not his own phone number, which he always struggled to remember, as the university teacher was told as a child, but his prison number from a concentration camp. Once, his grandfather’s life was saved by a Polish boxer.

This fall, Halfon’s novel Mourning will also be published in Norwegian. Here, his Jewish background is even more prominent in the story. How did his Jewish identity and the traumatic history of the Jewish people shape him as a human and a writer? And is it true that he never planned or wanted to be a writer?

Halfon will meet writer and editor Mattis Øybø in conversation.

Saturday, September 15, you can also meet Halfon in conversation with Marlon James and Ane Farsethås ( about language, identity, history and literature from Central America and the Caribbean, and on Sunday 16, Halfon will talk about one of his literary guiding stars, Julio Cortázar. (

Sunday, September 16, Eduardo Halfon will give a lecture about his literary guiding star, Julio Cortázar.

Litteraturhuset Wergeland English

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