Hey there word nerds!
Today I am delighted to have Rodrigo Hasbún on the show!
Rodrigo is a Bolivian novelist whose work has appeared in many top literary magazines such as Granta and Words Without Borders. In 2007, he was selected by the Hay Festival as one of the best Latin American writers under the age of thirty-nine for Bogotá39, and in 2010 he was named one of Granta’s Best Young Spanish-Language Novelists.
His latest novel, Affections, is his American publishing debut, received an English PEN Award, and has been published in twelve languages.
Listen in as we chat about Rodrigo’s amazing book, and how to find the way to your own best writing practice.
In this episode Rodrigo and I discuss:
- Practicing mindfulness in your writing while not squashing your creative process.
- Using peripheral first person POV to give your protagonist greater impact.
- Keeping readers engaged and invested in your work.
- Translating your writer’s instinct into a reliable editing process.
- Broader edits vs. fine tuning, how to use the logic of a film editor for both.
Plus, Rodrigo’s #1 tip for writers.
About Rodrigo Hasbún
Rodrigo Hasbún is a Bolivian novelist living and working in Houston, Texas. In 2007, he was selected by the Hay Festival as one of the best Latin American writers under the age of thirty-nine for Bogotá39, and in 2010 he was named one of Granta’s Best Young Spanish-Language Novelists.
He is the author of a previous novel and three collections of short stories, two of which have been made into films. His work has also appeared in Granta, McSweeney’s, Zoetrope: All-Story, Words Without Borders, and elsewhere.
Rodrigo’s latest novel, Affections, received an English PEN Award, has been published in twelve languages, and is his American publishing debut. Affections is available now.
A haunting novel about an unusual family’s breakdown—set in South America during the time of Che Guevara and inspired by the life of Third Reich cinematographer Hans Ertl—from the literary star Jonathan Safran Foer calls, “a great writer.”
Inspired by real events, Affections is the story of the eccentric, fascinating Ertl clan, headed by the egocentric and extraordinary Hans, once the cameraman for the Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl. Shortly after the end of World War II, Hans and his family flee to Bolivia to start over. There, the ever-restless Hans decides to embark on an expedition in search of the fabled lost Inca city of Paitití, enlisting two of his daughters to join him on his outlandish quest into the depths of the Amazon, with disastrous consequences.
Set against the backdrop of the both optimistic and violent 1950s and 1960s, Affections traces the Ertls’ slow and inevitable breakdown through the various erratic trajectories of each family member: Hans’s undertakings of colossal, foolhardy projects and his subsequent spectacular failures; his daughter Monika, heir to his adventurous spirit, who joins the Bolivian Marxist guerrillas and becomes known as “Che Guevara’s avenger”; and his wife and two younger sisters left to pick up the pieces in their wake. In this short but powerful work, Hasbún weaves a masterfully layered tale of how a family’s voyage of discovery ends up eroding the affections that once held it together.
If you decide to check out the book, we hope you’ll do so via this Amazon affiliate link, where if you choose to purchase via the link DIY MFA gets a referral fee at no cost to you. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!
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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome!