Juan Carlos Méndez Guédez (Barquisimeto, Venezuela, 1967) is the author of the novels Los Maletines; Tal vez la lluvia; Una tarde con campanas; El libro de Esther; and Árbol de luna, among others. In 2013 his work Arena negra was named book of the year by the country’s librarians. He has also published the collections of short stories Ideogramas; Hasta luego Míster, Salinger; and Tan nítido en el recuerdo. He holds a PhD in Latin American literature from the University of Salamanca, and his books have been translated into French and Galician. His latest novel El Baile de Madame Kalalú was published in Spain in 2016.
‘The Briefcases’ is an extract of chapters twenty and twenty-one of the novel Los maletines (Madrid: Siruela, 2014).