The Iguana Speaks My Name

By Roberto Moulun

Reviewed by Bob Drynan  


the-iguana-speaks-my-nameRoberto Moulun’s collection of short stories weaves a tapestry as brilliantly colorful as the tejidos hawked in the streets and shops of Chichicastenango, Antigua and Guatemala City. Panimache, a hidden village in the mountains overlooking Lake Atitlan in Guatemala could be a metaphor for our own village of Ajijic. The inhabitants of Panimache pretended not to notice the cloud of “war that raped the land and left a trail of orphans.” The backdrop of random violence and intimidation, fed by political ambition, greed, and foreign manipulation darkens the lives of simple folk who have “no dog in the fight.” The problems of everyday existence demand their attention, but a hostile outside world haunts their dreams and occasionally intrudes into their lives.

Moulun’s tapestry is of whole cloth, laced with a wide ranging dramatis personae, rich with deeply human characters; some mundane, a few passionate, often drolly humorous, and frequently tragic. He introduces the reader to such colorful characters as La China, the wistful whore; the French painter Alizarin pining for his German enamorata; El Lobo the local military commander who totes a pistol, butt forward “like Wild Bill Hickok”; the sajorin, a Mayan witch doctor that exorcizes an ailing infant; the tragic lovers, Lotario and Coco; and Juan Domingo, a one-armed gardener who assists the protagonist In the rescue of an abused iguana.

This Guatemalan indigenous world oscillates from the harsh realities of life in the humble village to the imaginary or perhaps allegorical flights of inherited Mayan legends. In one deliciously erotic incident his protagonist is almost seduced by La Ciguanagua, a siren who entices young men to their death.

Roberto’s imagery is evocative; a mad woman’s laughter that began “at first lightly like a brook, and then like overflowing water.” His description of a village plaza in which “children and dogs ran freely, as if they...had sprouted from the soil,” evokes visions of a Sunday morning in the Ajijic town square. His love of the majesty of the Guatemalan highlands is lyrical, “...the incandescence of the rising sun on the three volcanoes which stood like oriental magi worshipping the birth of a god.”

Moulun’s writing exposes other personal passions, as his treadle threads into his narratives allusions to the brushes of Manet, Goya, Cezanne, Titian, and Van Gogh; the literary classics of Goethe, Byron and the poetic insights of Robert Frost; and he delightfully draws parallels of Mayan mythology with the imaginations of the cultures of Mediterranean antiquity.

As wide ranging as Moulun’s interests extend, his writing reflects the choice of his life work as a psychiatrist, his deep seated compassion for human vulnerability.

His chapters in Iguana could stand alone as single anecdotes, each describing an aspect of the human condition; insightful displays of individual foibles and conflicting virtues. His Part Two: Ten Backyard Stories from Panimache, is indeed a collection of stand-alone anecdotes, but they cleverly tie together as a whole with Part One.

Read his words, meet his characters, view his world, revel in his imagination and when you finish you will want to consider yourself a friend of Roberto Moulun.

Ed. Note: Kindle and paperback versions of The Iguana Speaks My Name will be available on in early September 2012. Print copies will be available in Ajijic at book signing events with the author beginning in late September, and at Diane Pearl Colecciones and La Una Restaurante. Please visit for further information.        




Pin It

Add comment

Security code

Bridge By The Lake  By Ken Masson April 2018 Bridge By The Lake March 2018 Bridge By The Lake February 2018 Bridge
The Poets’ Niche By Mark Sconce December 2013 Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) October 2013 Translations: A Chinese
Child of the MonthBy Nicole Sergent   April 2018 Maria Guadalupe A.T. March 2018 Meet The Children January 2018 Izel December
The Golden Age Of Mexican Cinema By Herbert W. Piekow   In March 2010 I went to Museo de Arte de Zapopan, with my friend Juan Carlos, to see an
The Dark Side Of The Dream By Alejandro Grattan-Dominguez, Arte Publico Press 434 pages $11.95 US Reviewed by ROB MOHR (Initially published in The
Wordwise With Pithy Wit By Tom Clarkson   This morning, my pal F.T. – who shared the Iraq experience with me during my third trek there – forwarded
LAKESIDE LIVING Kay Davis Phone: 376 – 108 – 0278 (or 765 – 3676 to leave messages) Email: November
Front Row Center By Michael Warren    The Pajama Game By Richard Adler and Jerry Ross Directed by Peggy Lord Chilton Music directed
Every Word  Important By Herbert W. Piekow   Every word a writer writes has meaning yes, sometimes they never get published or the book
LEGERDEMAIN—Italian Style By Jim Rambologna   Enzio Grattani was the Editor-in-Chief of a local rivista (or magazine) in Ajiermo, Italy. Locals

Author Articles

Our Issues

March 2018portada march2018

February 2018

portada February 2018

January 2018

portada january2018

December 2017


November 2017


October 2017


September 2017