Colourful characters play out their lives revolving around Gunter, Eliza, Soledad and Veronica, the four poles, with passages of prose interspersed with free ranging poetical sections characterised by both their lyricism and their savagery. The overwhelming theme is the triumph of the human spirit, of love and liberation over corruption, greed and vice. Gunter's Winter has a truly mythical quality, part fable, part legend, part moral tale; it is both instructive and compelling with a brilliantly devised and unexpected conclusion as reality and myth weave together.
Juan Manuel Marcos
After disregarding the security and comforts offered by his social and family position and recklessly facing oppression, prison, and torture, Juan Manuel Marcos (Asuncion, 1950) was forced to exile to Spain and the United States. In these countries he was able to obtain two doctorates, in Madrid and Pittsburgh, and to work on postdoctoral studies at Yale and Harvard. In addition, he obtained a tenured professorship and a permanent residence in the United States, as well as various academic and literary awards. He created an important academic journal and an annual symposium, published extensively articles, papers and books, and became a renowned international scholar.
As soon as he received the news of the coup d´état taken place in Paraguay, he gave up his position at the University of California, Los Angeles, gave up his economic and professional privileges, and returned to Paraguay, where he was elected congressman, senator, and councilor of the Ministry of Education, and founded Norte University (1991), nowadays the biggest and most prestigious private higher-education institution in the country.
As before, and till today, Juan Manuel Marcos's work has threatened radically the general climate of corruption, the politicians' conspiratorial cynicism, and the intellectual mediocrity that's been used as a shield to support them.
There are few cases in the world wherein a multifaceted personality has arisen as the main cultural reference of his country. Juan Manuel Marcos is the principal literary figure of the generation of Criterio and the New Paraguayan Cancionero movement which have been changing the Paraguayan contemporary poetry and theatre since the 70s. Both national and international critics have pointed out that his novel Gunter´s Winter (1987) has started the renovation of the Paraguayan narrative, and has opened the concept of postboom as a new paradigm of genre at a continental scale. Juan Manuel Marcos's university has revolutionized the scientific activities in the country with academic journals, respected publishing house, five international symposia, and conferences delivered by twelve Nobel Prize laureates and other remarkable researchers.
Juan Manuel Marcos has boosted a vast cultural movement which has created the revival of the symphonic music, the opera and the ballet in Paraguay. His university helds three artistic companies made up by 200 professional artists from 22 different countries. To provide for that huge cultural investment, the largest in the nation's history, Dr. Marcos has never applied for public funds, not even when he served several years as a powerful chairman of the Senate's Education and Culture Committee and Majority Leader. Norte University has educated and helped many of the most honest, qualified, and innovative professionals, entrepreneurs, communicators, and leaders of the last two decades in Paraguay.
But beyond all this, in his small corner of the planet, Juan Manuel Marcos arises today, especially for the youth, as an unstoppable ethical symbol, at the level of the most heroic examples and intellectual testimonies of our times. As Augusto Roa Bastos (winner of Cervantes Prize in 1989, and his compatriot and friend), once said: "Juan Manuel Marcos's struggle is the triumph of courage and intelligence over desperation and cynicism".