These twenty-plus short stories by leading Central American writers, by turns unsettling, absurd, tragic, exhilarating, and mystical, introduce us to the people behind the front-page horrors . . . A Torruban Indian loses a month’s pay with a bad roll of the dice . . . The beautiful young Anita hunts beetles and cockroaches . . . To up its popularity rating, a government stages the first “Miss Underdeveloped Contest” . . . After the 1954 massacres in Guatemala, children hold a funeral for a bird . . . Reflecting a wide range of styles, these stories point in new directions while evincing the particular strength and courage it takes to write in a war-torn country.