BOOK ALERT: Xocomil, The Winds of Atitlán

A novel by David Mohrmann.

Guatemala novel“Xocomil” (show-coh-MEEL) spans what most historians term the Guatemalan Civil War. That, unfortunately, does not begin to describe how it was experienced by the oppressed indigenous Mayas.

The novel begins and ends at Lake Atitlán. It travels from traditional Mayan villages through the war-torn mountains of Guatemala; from cornfields in Kansas through the jungles of Vietnam; from pot-filled hills in Northern California through the psychedelic haunts of San Francisco to the ruins, and magic mushrooms, of Southern Mexico. It is about simple lands full of complex intrigues. And hope. Always hope.

Jaime is a poor Maya boy from Santa Catarina—a good son, a dreamer—unable to escape the harsh realities of Indian life.

Jake is a farm boy from Kansas—also a dreamer—who, like Jaime, must survive a war and its many nightmares.

Aura is a Maya girl from San Antonio—a practical thinker—trying to avoid the painful truths that threaten her slight semblance of peace.

Luanne is from San Francisco, and has no idea who she is until a near death experience makes her a seer—sometimes of things she would rather not know.

“Atitlán” is translated by some as “where the rainbow gets its colors;” by others as “the place where water gathers.” In either case, a good name for a lake. It is a thousand feet deep. It hides a lot. But its surface reflects a world of human behavior that often taints the beauty of this magical place.

“Xocomil” is a word unique to Atitlán. It refers to the lake’s strong afternoon wind. Originally it meant “the demon’s fury.” Since the invasion of Spaniards and Catholicism, however, some converted Maya have taken it to mean “the wind that carries away sin.”

Regardless of meaning, the xocomil blows nearly every day. Sometimes with fury.

This book is available at this link:


  • Carlos Prahl

    Hi. My name is Carlos Prahl and my wife’s Nairobi de Prahl. She is an artist who was interviewed by Esperanza Huerta some years ago. The reason of my contact is to tell you that she (we)is back. She made the art and i the content of a book “Canciones del Folclore centroeuropeo” which contains some folkloric german music and a deep explanation about each song, with real art paintings from the artist inspired in each song.
    We are both guatemalan and are a couple.
    Maybe you can write somethung about our work.

  • Linda Hill

    Your book is fascinating! you really convey a visceral sense of “being there” in a culture so different from our own. I appreciate your ability as a writer to present your characters in a way that one can feel the simplicity of their existence and at the same time how they share some of the same concerns all peoples do, regardless of the world in which they find themselves. Your work inspires reflection. Thank you!

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