Hailed as one of the most important Hispanic writers of his generation, Ilan Stavans is mostly known for his penetrating essays on culture. He is also a celebrated storyteller whose work has been translated into a dozen languages and has garnered numerous international awards. ""The Disappearance: A Novella and Stories"" contains three small, masterful gems. The novella ""Morirse esta en hebreo,"" is a thought-provoking meditation on continuity and tradition among Mexican Jews that takes place just as a decades-long, one-party dictatorship is crumbling down. It is the basis for a critically-acclaimed Mexican feature film that will be released in the United States in late 2006. The volume also features ""Xerox Man,"" an intriguing story about a book thief with a bizarre theological obsession, which was commissioned and broadcast by the BBC and has been widely anthologized. The title story ""The Disappearance"" is the resonant tale of a Belgian actor who kidnaps himself in an attempt to respond to neo-Nazi groups. Together, these three pieces offer an unforeseen vista of Jewish-Hispanic relations and confirm Stavans's reputation as a lyrical, daring, and original literary voice.
Ilan Stavans is Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture and Five-College 40th Anniversary Professor at Amherst College. His books include The Essential Ilan Stavans (Routledge, 2000), The Hispanic Condition: The Power of a People (Rayo, 2001), On Borrowed Words: A Memoir of Language (Penguin, 2002), and Dictionary Days: A Defining Passion (Graywolf, 2005). He is also the author of Bandido: The Death and Resurrection of Oscar ""Zeta"" Acosta (Northwestern, 2003). Stavans has been the recipient of numerous awards, among them a Guggenheim Fellowship and Chile's Presidential Medal.