Augusto Monterroso Bonilla (December 21, 1921 - February 7, 2003) was a Guatemalan writer.
Monterroso was born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras to a Honduran mother and Guatemalan father. In 1936 his family settled definitively in Guatemala City, where he would remain until early adulthood. Here he published his first short stories and began his clandestine work against the dictatorship of Jorge Ubico. To this end he founded the newspaper El Espectador
with a group of other writers.
He was detained and exiled to Mexico City in 1944 for his opposition to the dictatorial regime. Shortly after his arrival in Mexico, the revolutionary government of Jacobo Arbenz triumphed in Guatemala, and Monterroso was assigned to a minor post in the Guatemalan embassy in Mexico. In 1953 he moved briefly to Bolivia upon being named Guatemalan consul in La Paz. He relocated to Santiago de Chile in 1954, when Arbenz's government was toppled with help from a North American intervention.
In 1956 he returned definitively to Mexico City, where he would occupy various academic and editorial posts and execute his work as a writer for the rest of his life.
In 1988, Augusto Monterroso received the highest honour the Mexican government can bestow on foreign dignitaries, the ?guila Azteca. He was also awarded the Spanish Prince of Asturias Award, in 2000. In 1997, Monterroso was awarded the Guatemala National Prize in Literature for his body of work.
He died of heart problems at the age of 81, in Mexico City.
Although Monterroso limited himself almost exclusively to the short story form, he is widely considered a central figure in the Latin American "Boom" generation, which was best known for its novelists. As such he is recognized alongside such canonical authors as Julio Cort?zar, Carlos Fuentes, Juan Rulfo and Gabriel Garc?a M?rquez.
Save for Lo dem?s es silencio
("The Rest is Silence"), his first and only foray into the form of the novel, Monterroso published only short pieces. He worked throughout his career to perfect the short story form, often delving into analogous genres (most famously the fable) for stylistic and thematic inspiration. Even Lo dem?s es silencio
, however, largely eschews the traditional novelistic form, opting instead for the loose aggregation of various apocryphal short texts (newspaper clippings, testimonials, diary entries, poems) to sketch the "biography" of its fictional main character.