by Israel Centeno
translated from the Spanish by Guillermo Parra
“A rare voice from Venezuela”
When leftist revolutionary Sergio's sniper shot misses the President of Venezuela, he's thrown into a sudden tailspin. As he attempts to escape the increasingly militarized regime, he winds up taking residence in a bohemian beachside commune, where he keeps a low profile until Lourdes, his former comrade, the object of his desire, and his possible betrayer, turns up one evening. Pursued by their former trainer in guerrilla warfare on the orders of the newly appointed Minister of the Interior, the two team up with unlikely partners to hatch a new plan for their survival. This poetic thriller, the second in Phoneme Media's City of Asylum Imprint, challenges the origin myth of South America's radical left, and resulted in its author's exile from Venezuela.
Israel Centeno was born in Venezuela in 1958. He has published 14 books, primarily novels but short story and poetry collections as well. He is regarded as one of the most important Venezuelan literary figures of the last fifty years. He has won the Federico García Lorca Award in Spain and the National Council of Culture Award in Venezuela. Since 2011 he has lived in Pittsburgh with his wife and two daughters as an exiled writer-in-residence at City of Asylum Pittsburgh.
Guillermo Parra is a poet and translator. His translations include José Antonio Ramos Sucre: Selected Works and Sucre's From the Livid Country. His own books of poems include Phantasmal Repeats and Caracas Notebook. He lives in Clearwater, FL.
"A rare voice from Venezuela. In this fever dream of a novel shot through with dark humor, Centeno grapples with the fallout from generations of violence and corruption." —Natasha Wimmer, translator of Roberto Bolaño's The Savage Detectives and 2666
"His fleshy, psychologically penetrating work is one of the great undiscovered literary experiences of Latin America." —Aurelio Major, co-founding editor of Granta en Español
"To open The Conspiracy is to be thrown off balance in the pulsating heart of a dangerous world of subterfuge and revolution, of idealism and bitter realism, where comradeship is as intense as betrayal. The alleyways and hideaways of Israel Centeno's Venezuela are as real and visceral as the streets of Pasolini's Rome." —Dermot Bolger, author of The Journey Home
"Centeno's novel brings proof that fiction, wielded by expert hands, can conjure up the hidden machinery behind the alluring facade of utopian revolutions. A revolutionary novel on revolution's deadly dead ends." —Ana Nuño, author of Las voces encontradas
"Centeno has written a brave, audacious, premonitory book. And he had to pay a price for it: his exile. The Conspiracy is proof that literature can still pester tyrants." -Horacio Castellanos Moya
Cover design by Jaya Nicely