Books by David Unger

Released: April 5, 2016

"The political elements in Unger's story become more gripping through the eyes of his flawed protagonist. He's especially good at subtly shifting the tone of the narrative so that danger signs build up around Guillermo before either he or the reader realizes."
Unger (The Price of Escape, 2011, etc.) bases his latest novel on the true story of a Guatemalan lawyer who planned his own murder in 2009, fleshing out the story with healthy shots of sex and corruption.Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2010

A successful Mexican-American bookseller makes his debut as a writer with this bilingual collection of seven folktales from Spanish and Latin-American lore. Martínez offers sweet and fresh versions of two Caribbean stories already introduced to the young readers in the United States through prior literary adaptations: "The Wedding Rooster" and "Martina the Cockroach and Pérez the Mouse." His collection also includes stories that have been told for generations in South America, such as "The Mother of the Jungle," from Colombian folklore, rich in ghosts and espantos, and "Pedro Urdemales and the Giant," which originated in Spain and was then popularized in Chile, Argentina and Venezuela. Kids may particularly enjoy the Mexican trickster story, "The Tlacuache and the Coyote." Unger's free Spanish translation conveys the author's storytelling voice and enhances it with the beauty of the stories' original language. Colón's exquisitely textured, full-page and border watercolor-and-pencil illustrations and such pleasing design details as flying birds and suns complete this gorgeous collection. (Folktales. 3 & up)Read full book review >
THE HONEY JAR by Rigoberta Menchú
by Rigoberta Menchú, Dante Liano, illustrated by Domi, translated by David Unger
Released: March 1, 2006

Grandmother Moon, Grandfather Sun, Mother Earth and Father Sun all have a part to play in this collection of a dozen Mayan myths that reveal the nature of events, animals and even humans that inhabit the earth. For example, "The Amazing Twins" tale explains why toads now eat insects, snakes eat toads and how eagles came to eat snakes. The value of work is explained in "The Man Who Became a Buzzard." Each tale focuses on another phenomenon of Mother Earth or Father Sun. Domi's richly lush paintings, full of brilliant color, stylistically portray the essence of each tale, adding imagery and visual interpretation. This collection by a Nobel Peace Prize winner is a first-purchase addition to any library that includes African legends and myths, Native-American how and why stories and the literary tales of Rudyard Kipling. (Folktales. 8-10)Read full book review >
THE GIRL FROM CHIMEL by Rigoberta Menchú
Released: Sept. 1, 2005

The Nobel Peace Prize-winner offers a set of disconnected episodes from an idyllic Guatemalan childhood, occasionally animated by poetic flights of language—"My grandfather walked and walked. What was he looking for? No one knows. He would swallow trails and leave behind the remains of goldfinch songs"—briefly retold folktales and references to Mayan beliefs that are more allusive than descriptive. Domi, best known as the illustrator of Subcommandante Marcos' Story of Colors (1999), adds full-page, folk-art style scenes in glowing colors, featuring totemic animals and stylized figures with strangely crude features; the effect is as atmospheric as the text. Younger readers may find the tales, and some of the anecdotes, of interest, but adults will respond most strongly to these misty reminiscences—and to the poignant undertone added by Menchú's hints of ensuing troubled times. (Autobiography. 8-10)Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 2001

"With echoes of Mordecai Richler's antiheroic tales of urban Jewish life, Unger's downbeat exploration suggests that though success at the price of collaboration with evil is no success, when you meet the love of your life, you might as well live."
Despairing debut about the Jewish experience in 20th-century Central America that, though enlivened by innocent eroticism and comic absurdity, finds little to love in a sunny fool's paradise. Read full book review >