Monkey Boy by Francisco Goldman, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

  The Long Night of White Chickens was my introduction to Francisco Goldman, the author who I selected to review due to his connections to Guatemala, and I’ve been a fan ever since.  Though born in Boston, his mother is a Catholic Guatemalan, his father Jewish American, so his life started off with an intriguing combination of influences. The book is a tense, almost surrealistic detective story that opens windows on the Latin American reality of State Sponsored assassinations, marabunta youth gangs and organized crime. His next book, Say Her Name, is an evocative story of love and loss between […]

Continue reading

“Crossing Borders, Building Bridges: A Journalist’s Heart in Latin America, by Maria E. Martin, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

I first became aware of the author at a “Peace Corps Connect” conference in Austin, Texas in 2019 where she was on a panel on “Crossing Borders” with several experts on immigration including the Guatemalan filmmaker, Luis Argueta. Recently, I heard her program on immigration in Guatemala, which aired on the public radio program “Reveal.”  I contacted her once I learned that she was the head of the “Gracias Vida Media Center” in Antigua, Guatemala, which was when I learned about her new book, which was published by Conocimientos Press. This book is an inspiring account of the author’s work […]

Continue reading

At Home and Abroad by V.S. Pritchett, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

While perusing my books recently, I recognized this book by V.S. Pritchett, who is a British writer and literary critic and a well-known travel writer. I’d recently written several of my own stories on Latin America, “The Ying & Yang of Travel: Traveling Solo,” and “Tschiffley’s Epic Equestrian Ride,” so I decided to get this author’s take. After all, according to the “WorldCat List,” which is the largest data- base on books for libraries around the world, Pritchett had logged 422 works in 1,896 publications in 5 languages in almost 43,000 library holdings. And he was knighted of Sir Victor […]

Continue reading

How I Learned English by Tom Miller, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

I purchased this book as a Christmas present for my Guatemalan wife because, she like millions of other Latinos, has struggled to master the quirks and challenges of English. Ligia took English in school in Guatemala. But I’ve always insisted we speak Spanish in order to maintain my fluency and she patiently corrected my grammar, which she continues to do.  After our first year of marriage, I took her to my hometown of Evergreen, Colorado in the dead (cold) of winter, where she tried to communicate with my mother by writing notes. But my mother insisted that we get a […]

Continue reading

Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security” by Todd Miller

  Reviewed by Mark D. Walker  This book caught my attention, as the author connects climate change and the hostility toward refugees, which is a key theme I focus on in a documentary on immigration in Central America. Although much debate on the existence of climate change that I’m exposed to takes place among relatively well-to-do urban dwellers, the author points out that 48 of the “least developed countries” are five times more likely to die in a climate-related disaster than the rest of world. Floods are now impacting 21 million people worldwide annually and by 2030, a “double exposure […]

Continue reading

A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

  I hadn’t read any of Allende’s books since “House of Spirits,” and after seeing several revealing interviews of her over the last few months, I decided it was time to reacquaint myself with her latest novel. The setting of the Spanish Civil War and Chile drew me in even more, as many of my favorite authors, such as Federico Garcia Lorca, George Orwell, John Dos Passos, Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Neruda lived through that war. Also intriguing was the landing of the protagonists in Chile after the military takeover of Pinochet. The President who was toppled was the author’s […]

Continue reading

Author Interview in SIETAR Newsletter (Soc. Intercultural Education, Training & Research) on Moritz Thomsen

CRAIG STORTI BOOKMARKS: LIVING POOR AND THE SADDEST PLEASURE 14 Dec 2020 8:26 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator) TWO BY MORITZ THOMSEN: Living Poor and The Saddest Pleasure Reviewed by Craig Storti There’s a movement afoot (led in part by Mark Walker, see the interview below) to elevate Moritz Thomsen to the status of a Very Important Writer, someone whose books stay in print for generations and get assigned in college literature classes, someone whose name every well-read person should know. And we here at BookMarks are happy to do our part. We briefly mentioned Thomsen in one of our previous columns (where we reviewed […]

Continue reading

Testimony: Death of a Guatemalan Village by Victor Montejo

  This would be the fourth of Montejo’s books I’d review in preparation for the production of a documentary on migration, “Guatemala: Trouble in the Highlands.” I’ve found this eyewitness account from a primary school teacher to be one of the most graphic descriptions of the violent conflicts between the Maya people and the army. Now that I’ve talked with him on several occasions, I appreciate why he is one of the most respected Maya intellectuals and activists in Guatemala today. And I can see why “Third World Resources” states, “One would be hard-pressed to cram more suspense and drama […]

Continue reading

Maya Intellectual Renaissance: Identity Representation and Leadership by Victor Montejo

This is the fourth of Montejo’s books I’ve read and reviewed as part of my research for a documentary on migration issues, “Guatemala: Trouble in the Highlands.” I’ve talked to the author, who is undoubtedly one of the most respected Mayan intellectuals and activists, when he was home in Huehuetenango, Guatemala, where he works, and also follow his Facebook page, “Mayalogue,” for all things Mayan. I especially appreciate the author’s insights because I’ve worked throughout the highlands of Guatemala, starting with the Peace Corps in the early 70s, but never stayed in one place long enough to learn any of […]

Continue reading

Book Review – Latin America: In The Kingdom of Mescal: An Adult Fairy-Tale for Adults

In The Kingdom of Mescal: An Adult Fairy-Tale for Adults A Book Review by Mark D. Walker September 2017  Hardcover: 38 pages  Publisher: Galeria Panajachel, Guatemala; 1st edition (1977)  Language: English  ASIN: B000KNLN4Y  Package Dimensions: 12 x 8.3 x 0.4 inches  Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces Although this book begins with the typical “Once upon a time” and is based on a legend from the Mayan Indians of Guatemala, it is far from traditional. In true Joseph Campbell fashion, this myth describes the different stages of an epic journey of an Indian boy named Blackhair […]

Continue reading