José de Piérola

Escribir es ser en el tiempo


Flowers that grow from light bulbs. Bullets stopped by an iPod. A ship and woman taken apart piece by piece. Fabulations is a collection of minimalist short stories that straddle history and fiction, fact and imagination. Encompassing thousands of years, this collection is at once intimate and panoramic. Each story aspires to be an imaginative periscope to see part of our shared human experience from a new angle.

Fabulations. José de Piérola.

New York: Kernpukt Press, 2018.


Quechua Magic-Religious Tales from Lucanamarca

This is the first trilingual edition of Cuentos religioso-mágicos quechuas de Lucanamarca, a compilation of traditional Andean tales done by José María Arguedas, one of the most important Peruvian writers. Arguedas, who was brought up as a Quechua speaker, wrote most of his fiction in Spanish, but kept close ties with the magical world of his childhood. He collected these traditional tales in Quechua and translated them for bilingual publication. This edition also includes the tales in English as well as illustrations by Andean artist Josué Perez.

Cuentos Legioso-Mágicos Quechuas de Lucanamarca. José María Arguedas, José de Piérola, Trans. Lima:Lluvia Editores, 2018.


La llave del Paraíso

From “Corte alemán,” which runs in parallel with the landing on the Moon, to “La llave del paraíso,” this is a collection of tales that chronicle the transition from childhood to the early teen years of their characters, a transition signaled by the discovery of death and the beginning of eroticism.

La llave del Paraíso y otros relatos. José de Piérola. Lima:Grupo Editorial Planeta, 2017.


El extranjero

Translation of the classic novel by Albert Camus. A rewriting of La Mort heureuse (1936-38), L’Etranger was published in 1941, in the middle of the Nazi occupation of France. Hailed by critics, including Jean Paul Sartre, as a masterpiece, this novel has remained a work with broad appeal. This edition includes an introduction—written by José de Piérola—that presents Camus' times and ideas, in particular his brand of Existentialism. Meant to bring this classic to a younger audience, this translation also includes a chronology.

El extranjero. Albert Camus, José de Piérola, Trans. Lima:Lluvia Editores, 2016.


Máquina del tiempo

This is a collection of short stories that explore issues of maturation in the forms of the fantastic, science fiction and dystopia. The book was published as an initiative of San Isidro, Lima, that loans books to young readers to encourage them explore new literature.

Máquina del tiempo. José de Piérola. 

Lima: Grupo Editorial Santilana, 2015.


Pishtaco Slayer

This story is based on an ancient Andean myth. The “pishtaco” is usually a fair complexioned, blue-eyed man waiting on desolate roads to kidnap and kill his victims in order to extract their fat. This centuries-old myth was probably created as a way of coping with the economic and labor relationships imposed by the Spaniards upon their arrival in the Peruvian Andes in the sixteenth century. Nevertheless, it is still widely circulated to the present day: every Andean town has a pishtaco story to tell. In this retelling of the myth, two twelve-year old friends investigate a man who, to their minds, could be responsible for the dead peasants showing up around a small Andean town. Complicating matters, the insurgency, who has been waging a war for almost ten years, becomes another lethal presence in town. These two factors, the myth and the reality of war, intermingle in the imagination of the two young characters. The book was published by Grupo Editorial Norma in their series “Torre Amarilla” for young readers, and presented in the International Book Fair in Lima.

Pishtaco Slayer. José de Piérola.

Lima: Grupo Editorial Norma, 2011.


Un beso del infierno

This novel is about a group of friends who, thinking that the nightmare of the Civil War in Peru is over, plan a camping trip at a plateau near Lima, a mythical place rumored to have been the cradle of an ancient civilization. The day following their arrival, one of them is killed by a soldier who is hiding in a cave, a straggler who considers himself the last bastion of resistance. For him, the group of friends are the enemy. Two of them have to face, and eventually overpower the soldier, revealing in the process their weakness and former political affiliations. The first version of this novel, Un beso de invierno, was awarded the “Premio de Novela Corta” given by the Banco Central de Reserva in Peru. This edition includes the missing chapters.

Un beso del infierno. José de Piérola.

Lima: Grupo Editorial Norma, 2010.


Summa Caligramática

Summa Caligramática. José de Piérola.

Lima: Grupo Editorial Norma, 2009.

This novel is about a child who is pressured by his father to write a book of poetry which is published when the boy is ten years old. Thanks to a chance encounter, the book becomes a best seller, a fact that places the boy in the midst of adult pressures he cannot handle. As a result, he loses his mind and kills his mother and grandfather. The story is told from the point of view of the confused young man the boy has become after fourteen years of living in a mental institution. Summa Caligrámatica also explores the relationship between memory and identity, and between knowledge and moral duty. This novel, which required extensive research, including a visit to “Hospital Larco Herrera,” an emblematic hospital for mental illnesses in Peru, was published in 2009 by Grupo Editorial Norma, and was presented at the “Feria del Libro Ricardo Palma,” one of the most important book fairs in Peru.


Sur y Norte

This is a short story collection articulated by the themes of violence, displacement and immigration. The book is organized in three parts: “Sur,” which includes four short stories set in Peru; “Sur y Norte,” a story about a failed border crossing; and “Norte,” which includes four short stories about immigrants in the US. Two short stories in this book “En el vientre de la noche” and “Variaciones sobre un tema de Nabokov” have won literary awards, and the former, translated as “Dans la ventre de la nuit” was anthologized in France, and as “In the belly of the Night,” was published by A Public Space, a New York based literary journal. This book was published by Grupo Editorial Norma.

Sur y Norte. José de Piérola.

Lima: Grupo Editorial Norma, 2008.


El camino de regreso

This novel tells the story of two close friends who find themselves at the opposite sides of the virtual Civil War in Peru during the 1980s and early 1990s. One of the friends, member of Red Vanguard (Shining Path), kills the father of the other friend, triggering a pursuit which ends in another death. This novel is the second installment of an in-progress trilogy about the decades of political violence in Peru. Rather than giving a partial account, or retelling the usual story in which good fights evil, this novel tries to render the complex network of relationships, unstable alliances and mechanisms of power in Peru.


El camino de regreso. José de Piérola.

Lima: Grupo Editorial Norma, 2007.


El arte de la ficción

This is a translation of the classic essay with which Henry James replied to a talk of the same name given by Walter Besant in the Royal Society, London. Usually published by itself, this translation also includes Besant’s talk to preserve the integrity of this dialogue that began the long discussion on the art of fiction.

El arte de la ficción. Henry James, Trans. 

José de Piérola. Lima: Lluvia Editores, 2007.


Shatranj: El juego de los reyes

This is a young adult novel about the invention of chess. Set in Iran at the beginning of the seventh century, it is based on some of the extant traditions about the invention of chess, but incorporates original research and complicates the story by placing a female character in the leading role and by setting it in a city where four religious traditions coexist in harmony, albeit for a short time.

Shatranj: El juego de los reyes. José de Piérola.

Lima: Grupo Editorial Norma, 2005.



This volume includes “Lápices,” the short story winner of the “Bienal de Cuento Copé,” the most prestigious short-story contest in Peru, sponsored by Petroperú. In addition, this book compiles all of the short listed stories.

Lápices. José de Piérola. Lima: Ediciones Copé, 2001.


Copyright © José de Piérola, 2018