Xocomil: The Winds of Atitlán

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9780996992206: Xocomil: The Winds of Atitlán

XOCOMIL (Show-coh-meel), The Winds of Atitlán.

The novel spans what many historians term the Guatemalan Civil War. That, unfortunately, does not include the United State's participation in that war, or begin to describe how it was experienced by the oppressed indigenous Maya.

The story begins and ends at Lake Atitlán. It travels from traditional Maya villages through the war-torn mountains of Guatemala; from cornfields in Kansas through the jungles of Vietnam; from pot-filled hills in Northern California through the psychedelic haunts of San Francisco to the ruins, and magic mushrooms, of Southern Mexico. It is about simple lands full of complex intrigues. And hope. Always hope.

Jaime is a poor Maya boy from Santa Catarina Palopó--a good son, a dreamer--unable to escape the harsh realities of Indian life. Jake is a farm boy from Salina, Kansas--also a dreamer--who, like Jaime, must survive a war and its many nightmares. Aura is a Maya girl from San Antonio Palopó--a practical thinker--trying to avoid the painful truths that threaten her slight semblance of peace. Luanne is from San Francisco, California, and has no idea who she is until a near death experience makes her a seer--sometimes of things she would rather not know.

Atitlán is translated by some as where the rainbow gets its colors; by others as the place where water gathers. In either case, a good name for a lake. It is a thousand feet deep. It hides a lot. But its surface reflects a world of human behavior that often taints the beauty of this magical place.

Xocomil is a word unique to Atitlán. It refers to the lake’s strong afternoon wind. Originally it meant the demon’s fury. Since the invasion of Spaniards and Catholicism, however, some converted Maya have taken it to mean the wind that carries away sin.

Regardless of meaning, the Xocomil blows nearly every day. Sometimes with fury.

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About the Author:

David Mohrmann began his artistic career as a painter, and has participated in numerous exhibitions of his work. As a playwright, he has produced ten plays, and then went on to teach for fifteen years in the theater department at Humboldt State University, where he got involved in political and therapeutic theater. After studying with the famous Brazilian director, Augusto Boal, he became a trained ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’ facilitator and taught that practice at Humboldt State for his final ten years. After retiring in 2005, he began writing short-stories, and has had five of the thirty published. His first novel, Xocomil, grew out of one of those stories. It is informed by his many travels throughout Guatemala, beginning in the mid 1970’s. He is now living in Arcata, California--with frequent trips to Guatemala--and working on his second novel, The Very Last Thought.

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David Mohrmann
Published by wildwinds publishing (2016)
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