Betrayed by Rita Hayworth - Manuel Puig

McNally Editions

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Betrayed by Rita Hayworth / by Manuel Puig, translated by Suzanne Jill Levine / ISBN 9781946022424 / 313-page paperback from McNally Editions

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Manuel Puig's "dazzling and wholly original debut" (New York Times Book Review) is a startling anatomy of a small town in thrall to its own petty lusts, betrayals, scandals, thefts, and gossip--but most of all, to the movies.

When it appeared in 1968, Manuel Puig’s debut—a portrait of the artist as a child in small-town Argentina—was hailed as revolutionary. Borrowing from the language of "true romance" and movie magazines, the techniques of American modernism, and Hollywood montage, Puig created an exuberant queer aesthetic while also celebrating the secret lives of women.

Hanging on the conversations of his mother, friends, and neighbors, Puig's stand-in Toto pieces together stories as full of passion, desire, and revenge as anything dreamed up for the silver screen. “A screamingly funny book, with scenes of such utter bathos that only a student of final reels such as Puig could possibly have verbally recreated for us” (Alexander Coleman, New York Times), it is also a bittersweet love letter to the golden age of Hollywood.

“A masterpiece . . . Betrayed by Rita Hayworth is a triumph . . . Puig does camp it up in a fabulous way, full of literary allure, magnetic glower, smoldering good looks and plenty of plain panache and strut . . . A screamingly funny book . . . His characters turn out to be contemporary proto-Bovarys and proto-Quixotes, all pouring their heart out in prose you haven't seen since last leafing through a pulp movie magazine or True Romances. En fin, a dazzling and wholly original debut by Senor Puig, who obviously loves us madly; and a hand too for the translator, Suzanne Jill Levine, whose transfigurations of infantile Americanese deserve all praise. -- Alexander Coleman ― New York Times Book Review

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