Mario Bencastro

Portable Paradise

A stirring collection of stories bring to life the impact of war and the need to leave one’s country because of violence and poverty

Acclaimed Salvadoran writer Mario Bencastro examines themes of war, dislocation, and longing in this bilingual collection of stories, poetry, and one novella. Many of his characters are forced to leave their homeland because of violence and poverty. But once in the Promised Land, separated from family and friends in a country whose language and culture they don’t understand, many find themselves overwhelmed by feelings of loss and nostalgia.

In “Dragon Boy,” a group of children orphaned by El Salvador’s civil war band together to survive, even as they are exploited by predators. In “The Plan,” a successful Swiss millionaire returns to his native El Salvador—which he left as a defenseless orphan—and executes his ruthless plan to take revenge on those responsible for the brutal killings of his family. And in “From Australia with Love,” a Salvadoran émigré plans to marry a countryman she met on the Internet, until she realizes that they may have ties from long ago.

Readers will not soon forget Bencastro’s moving images fueled by the horrible realities of war and the painful need to leave behind all that is dear.

(Arte Público Press – 2010 New Publications Catalog.)

Portable Paradise

First edition:
Arte Público Press, Houston, USA, March 31, 2010, 240 pages, Trade Paperback, $15.95 ISBN-13: 978-1-55885-516-8

Copyright © 2010 Mario Bencastro.