Monterroso, Augusto 1921-2003
MONTERROSO, Augusto 1921-2003
OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born December 21, 1921, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras; died of heart failure February 7, 2003, in Mexico City, Mexico. Educator and author. A citizen of Guatamala who spent much of his life in self-imposed exile in Mexico, Monterroso was won of Latin America's most famous authors and was particularly noted as a writer of short and short-short stories. The son of a Honduran and a Guatamalan, he was self-educated because constant moves between his parents' two countries made a formal education difficult. As a teenager, he became a member of several literary groups, including the Association of Young Artists. Politically active, he opposed the dictatorship of Jorge Ubico in Guatamala, as well as the American-run banana plantations he felt exploited native workers. These views were expressed in the intellectual magazine he founded, Acento, but his anti-government activities forced him to flee Guatemala for Mexico in 1944. There, he found work as a literature instructor at the National University of Mexico City and began publishing his fiction. Among his works are El concierto y el eclipse (1952), Movimiento perpetuo (1972), Mr. Taylor and Co. (1982), and Las illusiones perdidas (1985); in 1995 his complete works were translated into English as Complete Works and Other Stories. Monterroso was notably adept at the short-short story form and is credited for writing the shortest story ever published, a one-sentence work called "The Dinosaur" that reads "When it woke up, the dinosaur was still there." For his literary achievements, Monterroso received numerous awards, including the 1988 Aztec Eagle from Mexico, the Juan Rulfo Award for Latin American Literature in 1996, and the 2000 Príncipe de Asturias from Spain. In 1996, after helping to mediate a peace pact between the government and rebels in Guatemala, Monterroso declared his exile over, though he continued to live in Mexico until his death.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Sole, Carlos A., editor, Latin American Writers, Supplement 1, Scribner's (New York, NY), 2002.
Los Angeles Times, February 10, 2003, p. B9.
Times (London, England), February 12, 2003.
Washington Post, February 10, 200, p. B7.