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Javier Pedro Zabala


Javier Pedro Zabala was born in Miami in 1950. His father was Mexican while his mother was half Basque, half German, and was born in Miami. His father was a car mechanic and his mother worked in a bakery. When he was fourteen, his father decided to return to Mexico, leaving his wife and two younger children in Miami, while Javier followed his father. Father and son worked in a car body shop in Matamoros, Mexico.

Zabala later moved to Mexico City, living with his uncle and still working as a car mechanic, though, by this time, he was very much interested in reading and writing. He was said to have joined a radical Mexican student group, though this is not sure. He apparently was injured in some struggle and, at the hospital, met Blanca Barutti, a doctor a few years older than him, who was from Cuba. The couple got together and, in 1976, moved to La Boca, Cuba. Zabala lived there for the rest of his life. Blanca went to Africa as part of a Cuban programme to help the people. She disappeared in or around Rwanda.

Zabala spent much of his time writing the book that would become The Mad Patagonian. He died in 2002, soon after finishing the book. The book was to be published in Spanish but the Venezuelan publisher went bankrupt before it could he published, so it has only been published in English translation.

Other links

Who Really Wrote The Mad Patagonian?
Fake News, Fake Mad Patagonian (my blog post on the identity of Zabala and whether the book was a translation)
The Mad Patagonian (the publisher’s response to the above)


2018 The Mad Patagonian (novel)