Stealing Benefacio’s Roses
By Martín Prechtel

Stealing Benefacio’s Roses

by Martin Prechtel

"Gaspar Culán the younger did not believe the Sun was a God neither was the Earth a sky for another world beneath, nor was it alive at all" Thus begins the beautifully narrated, romantic epic of Martín Prechtel’s search for the "deer-like look in a woman’s eye," and his dramatic getaway with his family against impossible odds during his last years in war torn Guatemala.

A story within a story within a story, the apex in Prechtel’s autobiographical trilogy,
Stealing Benefacio’s Roses is an epic adventure that begins in the 19th century Guatemalan highlands and ends in the semi-arid foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountains of New Mexico of today. In between lay tribal memory, the smell of mule caravans, the fury of the Gods, man-eating birds, bare-footed land moguls, forbidden roses, religious trials and unhappy love affairs, bullets and crenulated palaces, polyester and high heels, guerillas and suburbs, international arms sales, the hope and losses of the diasporas, the amnesia of modernity and Holy Remembrance forced to survive homeless under bridges.

As a political exile within the borders of Guatemala then as a spiritual and cultural exile within the confines of the United States, Prechtel tells a tale of irony and beauty where chaos, terror, love, magic and the unexpected live side by side as fingers on the same hand that curl around a cup holding the wine of one man’s life. Rooted in an ancient mythology passed ritually on to him by a magical generation of Tzutujil Maya now gone, Prechtel reminds us that these kinds of stories, if forgotten, will be lived out in our daily lives but can help us live when they are consciously remembered.

Stealing Benefacio’s Roses is a literary masterpiece in honor of oral indigenous story and the indigenous heart of every person. Though easily read as a logical third in sequence with his other two legendary books,
Secrets of the Talking Jaguar and Long Life, Honey in the Heart, it also stands on its own as a classic work of beauty and adventure.

Stealing Benefacio’s Roses

Once in a decade you read a book that, for a time, renders all other books irrelevant, trivial, or extraneous. Such a deep experience with a book makes it nearly impossible to write about it without sounding like an advertisement rather than an earnest review. However, in this case I must persevere, as Martín Prechtel’s latest book (his fourth), Stealing Benefacio’s Roses, is one of these peak moments in recent literature...” –Richard Grossinger

paperback - $18.95 ORDER HERE

Stealing Benefacio’s Roses
by Martin Prechtel

ISBN: Publisher: Pub. Date: Format: Paperback Price (USD): $18.95


photo credit: Johanna Prechtel

About the Author

Martin Prechtel's life, the well known subject of his previous books Secrets of the Talking Jaguar and Long Life, Honey in the Heart, took him from his native New Mexico upbringing as a half-blood, native American from a Pueblo Indian reservation to the village of Santiago Atitlan where he eventually served the Tzutujil Mayan population as a full village member becoming a principal in the body of village leaders, responsible for instructing the young people in the meanings of their ancient stories that took place in the rituals of adult rights of passage.

Martín once again resides in his native New Mexico where he is a writer, teacher, speaker, musician, and healer. Teaching internationally through story, music and writing, Martín helps people in many lands reconnect with their own sense of place-their sense of the daily sacred and their search for the Indigenous Soul.

Praise for

"It's an encyclopedia of beauty . . . Like some poems of Neruda's, it is a treasure house of language, in service to life."

—Robert Bly,
author of Iron John, Morning Poems,
and 42 other books of prose and poetry

"The Mayan gods, who hold eloquence above all else, must surely be pleased with this soul, who in this lifetime is named Martin Prechtel.""

—Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.,
author of Women Who Run with the Wolves,
The Gift of Story, and The Faithful Gardener

Prechtel . . . shows how to infuse language with spirit and a sense of the sacred without sacrificing its sensuousness. He demonstrates for us how a trained bard of a traditional society might tackle a writing project-with all 20 layers transparent and tingling!"

—Common Boundary (Steven Larson)

"A Superbly written work....Perhaps most remarkable is the luminous eloquence of Prechtel's language...something of the flavor of the indigenous oral tradition, a style worthy of the reverence accorded by most oral peoples to the beauty of living language. That so many experiences and insights rooted in indigenous, participatory, oral modes of awareness managed to be translated onto the written page, without losing their ancestral wildness, is something of a wonder. It's a landmark text, a kind of talisman filled with clues for those working on behalf of the wild, more-than-human earth. Don't miss it."

—David Abram,
author of The Spell of the Sensuous

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