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The Chulla Romero y Flores (1958 Novel) by Jorge Icaza – An English Translation

by Jorge Icaza (1906-1978)

Translated from Spanish by Richard Gabela

Chapter I

Several times a day Don Ernesto Morejón Galindo, Chief-Director of the Bureau of Economic Investigation, abandoned his small office to monitor the attendance of the employees in his charge. Don Ernesto was a man of uneven temperament. Completely uneven. When he was in a good mood, he was the kind to brag about being a Don Juan and make racy revelations about himself, much like a mestizo woman from the vegetable market or a newcomer from the province. With graphic and pornographic gestures of a sex addict, he would whisper into the ear of whoever was serving as his confidant at the moment: “What a wild night, my dear cholo. I served myself three young ladies. Two of them turned out to be virgins.… Hee-hee-hee…All for free.” But when it came time to publicly reprimand his henchmen—as he inwardly referred to his subordinates—he swelled with omnipotence and hurled insults left and right. In times like these, when his domineering arrogance exploded, the most grotesque characteristics of his fat face stood out: his cheeks resembled a pair of pink buttocks, his lips quivered like mud, bilious drool hung between his teeth, a diabolical flame burned in his pupils.

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Edgar Allan García

Edgar Allan García (Guayaquil, December 17, 1958) is an Ecuadorian writer and cultural promoter. He has published 74 books in the genres of short stories, poetry, novels, biography, nonfiction, essays and children’s literature. Some of his works have been published in Spain, Peru, Mexico and Argentina. Some of his stories have been translated into French. His book “Leyendas del Ecuador” is read in primary and secondary schools while his novel for young adults “El rey del mundo” was chosen as part of Argentina’s national reading program. He is part of multiple anthologies of poetry and short stories, and in 2010 he was included in the Great Dictionary of Latin American Authors of Children’s and Youth Literature, by Jaime García Padrino. He is also director of the José de la Cuadra National Book and Reading Plan of Ecuador.

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Juan Carlos Cucalón

Juan Carlos Cucalón (Guayaquil, 1963) is an Ecuadorian short story writer and playwright. In 2007 he won first place in the Pablo Palacio Short Story Biennial with his story “Miedo a U2” [Fear of U2]. His book of short stories “Surcos obtusos” won the 2009 edition of the Luis Félix López National Literature Contest. Among the themes of the book are homoeroticism and masculinity in Latin America. In 2010, he premiered his play “Exododedosexos,” whose plot follows two transgender women named Malva Malabar and Simoné Bernadette who prepare to stage a play by Tenesse Williams. Cucalón is openly homosexual, and throughout his career he has published numerous stories featuring characters of various sexual orientations.

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Gilda Holst

Gilda Holst Molestina (Guayaquil, 1952) is an Ecuadorian writer and university professor. Her narrative makes use of humor and irony, in addition to the treatment of themes related to gender inequality. She began her literary career in the 1980s. In 1985, she entered the literary workshops of writer Miguel Donoso Pareja. She has also dedicated herself to teaching, working for several years as a professor of literature at the Catholic University, where she eventually directed the School of Letters. She wrote the novel “Dar con ella” (2000) and 3 books of short stories, “Más sin nombre que nunca” (1989), “Turba de signos” (1995), and “Bumerán” (2006). Her stories have also appeared in numerous anthologies, including in English translation in “Cruel Fictions, Cruel Realities: Short Stories by Latin American Women Writers” (1997) edited and translated by Kathy S. Leonard. (2006). In 2021, Editorial Cadáver Exquisito published her Complete Works.

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Maritza Cino

Maritza Cino Alvear (Guayaquil, 1957) is an Ecuadorian poet and university professor. She has published 8 poetry collections and a collection of 23 short stories entitled “Días frívolos” [Frivolous Days]. Her poems have appeared in Latin American and Spanish magazines, as well as U.S.-based online magazines. In addition, some of her poetry has been translated into English, Italian and French. Her latest poetry collection “El temblor de los huertos” [The Tremor of the Orchards] was published in 2022.

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Maria Cecilia Corella

Maria Cecilia Corella Ramírez (Daule, September 9, 1967) is an Ecuadorian writer, poet, and cultural promoter. She has authored five books: “Poesías amatorias,” “Poemas Corellanos,” “La voz de los Daulis,” “Versos caminantes,” and “Daulis.” From 1985 to 2015, she was the editor of La Voz de los Daulis, a literary, historical, and cultural magazine. She hosts a local cultural TV show Viernes de Cultura y literatura on DV Daule Vision. She is presently the president of the Corporación Cultural Daule, whose cultural event, Sofá Cultural, aims to promote Daule’s literature, dance, music, inlay, and other forms of artistic expressions. She is a member of the World Hispanic Union of Writers and the Union of Writers and Artists of Tarija.

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Olga Caro

Olga Caro Alda (April 25, 1949) is a French author, Hispanist, university professor and lecturer. Her parents were both Spaniards. She holds a PhD in the Spanish language, and has taught Latin American literature and culture at the Université du Maine, Le Mans, France. She is an expert on the works of Ecuadorian novelist Jorge Icaza. Her interest in Icaza led her to Ecuador in 1994, where she searched through libraries for information on the author. She met Icaza’s widow, Marina Moncayo, who opened the doors to her home as well as the author’s own archives, which Caro studied, photocopied and photographed. In a library she discovered two of Icaza’s long-lost stories, “Patrón Rafico,” published under the title “Capítulo para una novela inédita” (1945) and “Fantasía reincidente” (1960). After telling Marina about her find, Marina remarked: “It’s incredible, Jorge was looking for them to publish them and he couldn’t find them!” With the agreement of Icaza’s daughters, Fenia and Cristina, in 2005 Caro published a book entitled “Nouvelles de Jorge Icaza et études critiques” [Short stories by Jorge Icaza and critical studies], which included the two stories, as well as eight essays written by Caro about Icaza in previous years. She has also written essays on Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa.

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Luis Alberto Bravo

Luis Alberto Bravo (Milagro, 1979)​ is an Ecuadorian novelist, short story writer, and poet. His poetry collectioms include “Antropología pop” (2010) and “Utolands” (2011). In 2011, the Guadalajara International Book Festival named him one of the 25 best kept literary secrets of Latin America. He has authored the novels “Septiembre” (2013), “Hotel Bartleby” (2013), “El jardinero de los Rolling Stones” (2016), and  “Crow” (2017). In 2022, he won the Jose Donoso Pareja Narrative Award for his short novel “Asia,” which blends fact and fiction in the retelling of a trip to Guayaquil, Ecuador, taken by American writer and artist William Burroughs in the 1950s.

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Jaroslav Kuchválek

Jaroslav Kuchválek (Kardašova Řečice, Czechoslovakia, April 7, 1910 – Prague, Czech Republic, April 13, 1973) was a Spanish and Portuguese to Czech translator, Hispanist, professor, and diplomat. In 1947, he and Miroslav Paťava co-translated Ecuador’s most famous novel “Huasipungo” by Jorge Icaza into Czech as “Indiánská pole” (literally, Indian Fields). He graduated in French Philology in 1934 and earned a PhD in Spanish Philology in 1952, both from Charles University in the Czech Republic. In 1946 he became a member of the communist party. He translated the works of a number of left-wing Spanish and Latin American writers such as Jorge Amado, Pablo Neruda and Alfredo Varela into Czech. From 1946 to 1951, he worked as a Spanish lecturer and later as an assistant professor at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University. He taught Spanish courses, led seminars, and hosted Latin American writers. From 1954 to 1971, he dedicated himself to diplomatic work in his country, Brazil, the United States and Mexico.

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Javier Ponce

Javier Ponce Cevallos (Quito, April 28, 1948) is an Ecuadorian author, journalist, and politician. Additionally, he spent many years working as an editorial writer for the newspapers El Universo and Hoy. He has held various public posts, including Minister of Defense (2008–2012) and Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Aquaculture, and Fisheries (2012–2017), both held under President Rafael Correa’s administration. In 1982, he published his first book of poetry, “A espaldas de otros lenguajes,” followed by “Escrito lejos” (1984), “Los codices de Lorenzo Trinidad” (1984), “Texto en ruinas” (1999) and “Afuera es la noche” (2000). In 1990, he wrote his first novel, “El insomnio de Nazario Mieles,” followed by “Es tan difícil morir” (1994), and “Resígnate a perder” (1998) whose plot revolves around a character named Santos Feijó, the director of Quito’s Historical Archive, and his two loves, a woman named Nadja and a transvestite prostitute known as “Caramelo.”

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Marco Antonio Rodríguez

Marco Antonio Rodríguez (Quito, 1941) is an Ecuadorian short story writer and essayist. He is a numerary member of the Ecuadorian Academy of Language. His most famous book is a short story collection entitled “Historia de un intruso” which consists of 10 short stories. In 1967, it won the best Spanish language book in the Leipzig International Book Fair (Germany), where other participants included Mario Vargas Llosa, Julio Cortázar, and Carlos Fuentes. He has also written over 20 books on visual arts. In 2020 he published a collection of all his stories in a book entitled “Todos mis cuentos,” which includes his previous collections: “Cuentos del rincón,” “Historia de un intruso,” “Un delfín y la luna,” and “Jaula.”

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Jorge Rivadeneyra

Jorge Rivadeneyra Altamirano (Riobamba, 1930) is an Ecuadorian novelist, short story writer, essayist, columnist, and professor. His first novel, “Ya está amaneciendo,” appeared in 1957. He has written several books of short stories, including: Encrucijada (1960), “Ismata” (1993), and “Chacamandaca”(2015). Since 2002, he has lived in Caracas, Venezuela, where he has taught doctoral students at Venezuela’s Central University as a Professor of Social Sciences.

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Paulo de Carvalho Neto

Paulo de Carvalho Neto (Simão Dias, Sergipe, Brazil, September 10, 1923 – Rio de Janeiro, August 17, 2003) was a Brazilian anthropologist, ethnologist, folklorist, writer, novelist, and essayist. Because of his research and study of oral traditions in Ecuador and other countries he is considered the progenitor of “folklore” as a field of study in Latin America. He lived outside of Brazil for many years, including Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Ecuador (for 6 years), and the United States (for 17 years) where he taught at UCLA. In January 1960 he was appointed Cultural Attaché of the Brazilian embassy in Quito, Ecuador’s capital with the mission of organizing a Center for Brazilian Studies there. He collaborated with Benjamín Carrión of the House of Ecuadorian Culture (CCE), and together with poet Jorge Enrique Adoum and artist Oswaldo Guayasamín founded the Ecuadorian Institute of Folklore. He taught classes at the Faculty of Philosophy and Literature of the Central University of Ecuador. He also co-founded, and directed, the Revista del Folklore Ecuatoriano [Ecuadorian Folklore Magazine], published by the House of Ecuadorian Culture. Several of his books on folklore theory, including “The Concept of Folklore” and “Folklore and Psychoanalysis” were translated into English by Jacques M.P. Wilson and published by University of Miami Press in the late 60’s and early 70’s. In 1972, he published a neo-Indiginest novel entitled, “Mi Tío Atahualpa” [My Uncle Atahualpa], about the Ecuadorian Indians in the highlands of Quito, which was translated into Portuguese, Finnish, German, and Dutch.

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José Peralta

José Peralta Serrano (Chaupi-Yunga, Gualleturo, present day Cañar, 1855 – Quito, December 27, 1937) was an Ecuadorian lawyer, politician, diplomat, educator, writer and journalist who founded several liberal journals in the 19th and early 20th century. He is considered the greatest ideologue of the Liberal Revolution. His works, such as “¿Ineptitud o traición?” (1904), “Tipos de mi Tierra” (1910), “El régimen liberal y el régimen conservador juzgados por sus obras” (1911), and “Eloy Alfaro y sus victimarios” (1951) are an invaluable part of Ecuadorian literature’s heritage. He was an ally of Eloy Alfaro (President of Ecuador from 1895 to 1901 and from 1906 to 1911) and held various diplomatic and public posts during Alfaro’s rule. He was one of the drafters of the 1906 constitution. He was proposed by Alfaro as a candidate to succeed him as president of the republic, which he declined in order to avoid violence from the side of the conservatives.

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Rocío Durán-Barba

Rocío Durán-Barba (Quito) is an Ecuadorian writer, novelist, poet, essayist, journalist, and painter. She writes in both Spanish and French and has authored over 50 books. She has lived in Paris for many years. She received a doctoral Law degree from the Catholic University of Ecuador and completed post-doctoral studies in International Sciences and Diplomacy at the University of Vienna, the Diplomatic School of Vienna, and the Sorbonne in Paris. She also studied art at the Finishing School Colorado Women’s College in Denver, USA. She was a professor at the Faculty of Law of the Catholic University of Ecuador. She worked in Paris as a UNESCO consultant and as an advisor for UNESCO to the Ecuadorian Embassy. As a painter, her artwork has been featured in exhibitions in several countries. Her first novel París sueño eterno (1997) was translated into French in 2003 by the renowned translator Claude Couffon as “Ici ou nulle part.”

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Charles J. García Plúas

Dr. Charles J. García Plúas (Daule, 1964 – April 5, 2020) was an Ecuadorian writer, editor, biographer, historian, professor, researcher, and cultural promoter. He was a Language and Spanish professor with a doctorate in Education Sciences. He belonged to various cultural organizations in Ecuador. He authored over twenty books that narrate the history of towns settled on the banks of the Daule River, including Balzar, Colimes, Santa Lucía and others. He served as the Subdirector of Culture and Education of the Municipality of the Daule canton. In 2020, the Guayas chapter of the House of Ecuadorian Culture named a virtual festival in his honor. In 2021, the new Municipal Cultural Center (Centro Municipal de Cultura) of Daule, a three-story building which will house a museum, library, and more, was named “Dr. Charles García Plúas.”

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