Von Vacano, Arturo (1938–)

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Von Vacano, Arturo (1938–)

Arturo Von Vacano (b. 1938), Bolivian writer and journalist born in La Paz. Except for El apocalipsis de Antón (1972), an allegorical novel dealing with the violence and contradictions of a drastically stratified society in a setting marked by native cultural sacredness, the narrative of Von Vacano is highly autobiographical. Sombra de exilio (1970) concerns the reaching of adulthood during the Revolution of 1952 and the following years. Morder el silencio (1980) continues the experience of the man in Sombra de exilio and sets forth the impossibility of a literary vocation in a social context paralyzed by military dictatorship, violence, and the predominance of utilitarian values. All of Von Vacano's narrative strongly criticizes power and is characterized by a sense of blocked social redemption. Morder el silencio has been published in English as Biting Silence (1987), with the translation by Von Vacano himself. Von Vacano has published short pieces in Bolivian literary magazines and newspapers. Fleeing Bolivia in 1980, he lived as an exile in the United States, working as a writer, editor, and translator for United Press International in New York and Washington, D.C. In 2004, he published Hombre masa, o, la solución de todo: novela de ideas.

See alsoLiterature: Spanish America .


For a general view of Bolivian contemporary narrative and Von Vacano's place in it, see Luis H. Antezana, "La novela en el Último cuarto de siglo," in Tendencias actuales en la literatura boliviana, edited by Javier Sanjinés C. (1985). See also Ana Rebeca Prada, "Sobre Morder el silencio de Arturo Von Vacano," Revista iberoamericana, no. 134 (1986): 255-264. For interviews with Von Vacano, see Alfonso Gumucio Dagrón in his Provocaciones (1977), and Hipótesis, no. 7 (1978).

Additional Bibliography

Barnadas, Josep M. Arturo von Vacaro: Sombra del exilio: Esquema metodológico de aproximación a la narrativa boliviana. Cochabamba, Bolivia: Editorial los Amigos del Libro, 1977.

Castañón Barrientos, Carlos. Literatura de Bolivia. La Paz, Bolivia: Librería Editorial 'Juventud,' 2001.

Whitehutcher, Blanca, and Alba María Paz-Soldán. Hacia una historia crítica de la literatura en Bolivia. La Paz, Bolivia: PIEB, 2002.

                                      Ana Rebeca Prada

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