Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The President by Miguel Ángel Asturias

The President (1946)

by Miguel Ángel Asturias

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
460922,586 (4.08)22

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 22 mentions

Spanish (5)  English (4)  All languages (9)
Showing 4 of 4
So beautiful, and sad. One moment you think everything is lost, but then is not, and then it is worst than you thought. ( )
  Kirmuriel | Sep 19, 2013 |
A grim, sometimes satirical portrait of life under a totalitarian regime in an unidentified Latin American country. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
It is approaching nighttime, and in the porch of the cathedral of the capital of an unnamed Latin American country, the beggars and the most destitute of the city, gather to inspect their miserly belongings, nickel coins, and scraps of food before appropriating empty spaces for themselves to sleep in the night in. Their sleep was punctuated only by the sound of the footsteps of police patrolling the square below and the click of the sentinel's arms at the gates of the presidential palace. But tonight, something happened which would turn their miserable existence into something even more pitiful and horrifying. They were witness to a murder committed on the steps of cathedral. And the dead man was no ordinary person, for he was one or formerly one of the President's close allies.

The novel opens on this scene and sets the stage for the dark and ominous mood that pervades the country under the dictatorship. From this scene, the story shifts its focus on the President's favorite, a man called Angel Face, who was tasked to take care of the "disappearance" of General Canales, also a close associate of the President but who recently fell into disgrace. We do not know the exact nature of his offense, but he is now considered to be a rebel. The complications occur when Angel Face, in attempting to convince the General to flee (this was his specific assignment), was preempted by the arrival of other military who took the General away by force, and was left with the General's daughter, Camila. Angel Face himself was ruthless and cruel, he was not top hatchet man for nothing, but seeing the injustice of it all and the effect on the devastated young woman evoked in him a sense of duty and compassion, and he grows to love her. He knew what he was in for, but his devotion to Camila and now awareness of truth and justice brooked no halfhearted commitment on his part. Angel Face marries her, supposedly with the blessings of the President, but he knew too that his days were numbered. He is now the enemy. Many other incidents took place, highlighting the terror that dictated the actions of the citizens -- fear of being spied on, of displeasing those in power, of falling out of the favour of the President. Horrific deeds were widespread and commonplace and were never talked about. Years pass, the President continues to be at the height of his power, opponents are nowhere to be found for they have all been crushed, and a sinister calm pervades. We see a woman with a child, still waiting in hope for a certain prisoner to be released. But we know it is a hopeless wait. Deception, secrecy and lies hound our protagonists until the very end. ( )
  deebee1 | Sep 21, 2012 |
Asturias's precursor book to García Márquez's Magic Realism, which is typical for Middle and South American writers.
  hbergander | Mar 10, 2011 |
Showing 4 of 4
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
'Doem di-doem, dof en fel, verre hemel, diepe hel!' De kerkklokken, oproepend tot gebed, bleven nagalmen in de oren van de mensen, met abrupte overgang van licht naar donker, van donker naar licht.
Last words
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (4)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0881339512, Paperback)

Winner! Nobel Prize for Literature. Guatemalan diplomat and writer Miguel Angel Asturias (1899-1974) began this award-winning work while still a law student. It is a story of ruthless dictator and his schemes to dispose of a political adversary in an unnamed Latin American country usually identified as Guatemala. The book has been acclaimed for portraying both a totalitarian government and its damaging psychological effects. Drawing from his experiences as a journalist writing under repressive conditions, Asturias employs such literary devices as satire to convey the government's transgressions and surrealistic dream sequences to demonstrate the police state's impact on the individual psyche. Asturias's stance against all forms of injustice in Guatemala caused critics to view the author as a compassionate spokesperson for the oppressed. "My work," Asturias promised when he accepted the Nobel Prize, "will continue to reflect the voice of the people, gathering their myths and popular beliefs and at the same time seeking to give birth to a universal consciousness of Latin American problems."

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:19 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

No library descriptions found.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
15 wanted13 pay

Popular covers


Average: (4.08)
1 1
2 2
2.5 2
3 6
3.5 11
4 19
4.5 4
5 25

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 91,465,536 books! | Top bar: Always visible