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William Vlach lives in San Francisco. His poetry has been published in the United States and the U.K. Both his playwriting and parody works have won writing awards. His essays on the history of ethics have been published in psychology journals in the States. His research on police psychology has been published in the volume Violence: Mercurial Gestalt. He has served on the Steering Group of Oxford University’s Cultures of Violence Project. He continues his clinical practice in San Francisco.
One reviewer wrote that The Golden Chalice of Huanhpu was "An amazing feat of storytelling: envisioning the Guatemala of 500 years past with it’s richness of clashing worlds. Clearly well researched linguistically as well as historically, the author evokes and gives life to characters very different from each other (and from ourselves); through their differing speech patterns their consciousness is revealed. This creates a dreamlike and hypnotic atmosphere in which the reader can feel safe in going back in time with an intelligent and compassionate guide." The novel won the 2015 BAIPA Book Award for Fiction.
on Oct. 12, 2012 :
The Golden Chalice of the Hunahpu, by William Vlach, is a delightful and sophisticated work of art. The years of the Spanish conquest of the Maya (Southeast Mexico & Central America) are brought to life in the first-person narratives of three powerfully rendered characters: a high-caste Mayan boy who grows to manhood during the era; a female Spanish aristocrat who marries a conquistador and follows him to the New World, eventually becoming a despot in her own right; and a fairly decent Spanish monk who provides a window into the dark soul of the Spanish Inquisition... which, sadly, arrived in the New World like a ship-borne pack of stowaway rats.
Those of us who were skeptical of the so-called "history" portrayed in the Euro-propagandistic schoolbooks of the Fifties and Sixties have yearned for such a book as Vlach's. His research, both historic and linguistic, sets a strikingly realistic stage for this poetic and insightful novel. If Vlach tends to favor one party over the other, I suppose his sympathies lie with the Maya... but mostly because their story needed to be told. Other than that, the book is quite even-handed. Vlach doesn't blink at portraying the stubborn superstitions and cruelties of either culture, nor does he shy away from the profound courage (on both sides) that powered this cataclysmic series of events.
Five stars: both for adding several layers of truth to history, and for creating such a riveting tale.
(reviewed 8 months after purchase)