Gold Winner, ForeWord Reviews 2012 Book of the Year Award, Multicultural Fiction


Edgardo David Holzman

A story of love, tango, and tragedy set in Argentina’s darkest hour.

Set in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Washington, D.C., Malena is a story of ordinary lives ensnared in a web of hidden horror. At a time when Argentina’s military junta is kidnapping, torturing, and killing thousands of its own citizens to stamp out dissent, Kevin Solórzano (Solo), an American interpreter, finds himself back in the land of his youth. As Solo grapples with the government atrocities he discovers, he finds his path converging with that of his love rival, Argentine army captain Diego Fioravanti, a dreamer who moonlights as a tango instructor and who will ultimately risk his life for the “disappeared.” Their journey to the depths of officially sanctioned terror will sear their souls and challenge their humanity.

ISBN: 978-0-9842252-7-9
$14.95 | 354pp. | A Paperback Original

Now available

Praise for Malena

“For nearly eight years, [Argentina’s] junta carried out a meticulously planned and executed program of state terrorism known as the ‘Dirty War,’ which, according to internal estimates, led to the kidnapping, torture, or execution of nearly 30,000 Argentinians, most of them innocent civilians, at more than 340 concentration camps located throughout the country. This horrific world is the setting of Holzman’s arresting, moving, and disturbing thriller about three friends who try to survive the brutality around them and eventually escape it.” —Philadelphia Inquirer

“A beautiful portrait of one of the most terrible moments in Latin American history. Holzman has masterfully created a time machine that will transport readers into the heart of Argentina during the Dirty War.” —Brian Nelson, author of The Silence and the Scorpion: The Coup Against Chavez and the Making of Modern Venezuela (Best Book of 2009, The Economist)

“[A] harrowing portrait of the human cost of oppression … A powerful piece of historical fiction, this gripping testament to the brutality of Argentina’s military dictatorship may shake readers to their core.” —Library Journal

“With delicate portraits and a rich sense of place, Malena allows us to understand what it must be like to face the power of a terror  regime. This is not simply the story of how far Argentina descended into evil during the ‘dirty war’ of the 1970s, but of everyone in every country who has had to confront the extremes of human cruelty. It is both a powerful moral tale and an evocative tribute to the human spirit.” —Stephen Kinzer, author of All the Shah’s Men and Reset

“Holzman … has crafted a beautiful tale grounded in history and propelled by fast-paced storytelling.” —Publishers Weekly

Malena is fiction that feels all too real to those who witnessed Argentina’s ‘dirty war.’ Through a work of art, Holzman makes a most powerful case for why, three decades later, Argentina has decided that human rights crimes will not go unpunished.” —Juan E. Méndez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and former prisoner of conscience in Argentina

“This gripping novel will haunt you long after you’ve raced to its last page. Malena is a book of courage, love, and the darkest side of human nature that is inextricably linked to the foundations of the modern human rights movement. It should be required reading for Latin American history, human rights, or political science classes, as well as anyone who craves a great work of historical fiction.” —Charlie Clements, Director of the Carr Center on Human Rights Policy, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

“Through sheer artistry, Holzman has fashioned a poignant love story against a shameful backdrop of official terrorism. Passionate and timeless, Holzman’s novel of tormented men and haunting women guarantees that we will not forget the era they were forced to endure.” —A. J. Langguth, Professor Emeritus, Annenberg School, USC, and author of Hidden Terrors: The Truth about U.S. Police Operations in Latin America

“Eliminate those who oppose you is often a habit of those who seek power at any cost. Malena is a novel of political unrest in Argentina following American interpreter Kevin Solorzano as he navigates the tumultuous and deadly political minefield of Argentina where dissent is dealt with swiftly. Creating a bond with an Argentine army general who wants to stop the purges, Malena is a strong pick for those who enjoy political thrillers and adventure, much recommended.” —Midwest Book Review

About the author

Edgardo David Holzman

Edgardo David Holzman

Edgardo David Holzman is intimately familiar with Argentina, the backdrop for Malena. Born in Buenos Aires and currently living in Philadelphia, Holzman obtained his law degree in Argentina and his LLM in the United States. As an attorney and translator, he has worked for a number of international organizations and was involved in human rights work in the 1970s, experiences that led him to the historical record behind Argentina’s 1976-1983 military dictatorship. Malena is his debut novel.