Trout, Belly Up is the first book I read by Rodrigo Fuentes, a young Guatemalan writer. In this collection of interconnected stories, the author sheds light on the rural areas of Guatemala and leaves the reader alone with the challenges of the countryside.
Trout, Belly Up is beautifully written; the narration will grasp you in just a few pages. The violence in the stories will affect you more because it avoids all kinds of word games. The character that connects the stories is Don Henrik. Don Henrik struggles with the challenges of his private life as well as his farm. I can’t help but feel sorry for this beautiful character because it becomes clear with each story that he is such a kind soul.
Throughout the stories, the dose of brutality in the Guatemalan countryside is increasing. At first, there was only concern about the rumours, but towards the end, the world’s most dangerous animal began to show itself; humans. If you like realistic and dark stories, Trout, Belly Up may be right up your alley. It also reminded me of Samanta Schweblin’s short story book Mouthful of Birds. Enjoy!
Trout, Belly Up
In this original collection of short stories, Guatemala is ever-present in the background, at once peaceful and violent. We follow Henrik, a good man struck time and again by misfortune, so as he confronts different diatribes posed by the crude realities of farming life. Through his journey, we meet merciless businessmen, drug dealers and fallen angels, all wanting a piece of their pie. Told with precision and so astounding beauty, Trout Belly Up is a unique collection of highly entertaining stories from a country devastated by political violence.
Rodrigo Fuentes is a Guatemalan writer. An award-winning writer of short stories, so he is best known for his collection Trucha panza arriba, which was shortlisted for the 2018 Premio Hispanoamericano de Cuento Gabriel García Márquez.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: