Slum Virgin by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara, translated by Frances Riddle / ISBN 9781999722708 / 147-page paperback with flaps from Charco Press (Edinburgh) / brand new copy discounted due to a damaged corner from inbound shipping
“Queer writing at its most exhilarating.”―Times Literary Supplement
The slums of Buenos Aires, the government, the mafia, the Virgin Mary, corrupt police, sex workers, thieves, drug dealers, and debauchery all combine in this sweeping novel deemed a ‘revelation for contemporary literature’ and ‘pure dynamite’ (Andrés Neuman, author of Traveller of the Century & Talking to Ourselves).
When the Virgin Mary appears to Cleopatra, she renounces sex work and takes charge of the shantytown she lives in, transforming it into a tiny utopia. Ambitious journalist Quity knows she’s found the story of the year when she hears about it, but her life is changed forever once she finds herself irrevocably seduced by the captivating subject of her article. Densely-packed, fast-paced prose, weaving slang and classical references, Slum Virgin refuses to whitewash the reality of the poor and downtrodden, and jumps deftly from tragedy to comedy in a way that has the reader laughing out loud.
Gabriela Cabezón Cámara was born in Buenos Aires in 1968. Her debut novel La virgen cabeza (published in English as Slum Virgin by Charco Press, 2017) was followed by Romance de la negra rubia (Romance of the Black Blonde, 2014) as well as by two collections of short stories. In 2011 she published the novella Le viste la cara a Dios (You’ve Seen God’s Face), later republished as a graphic novel, Beya (Biutiful), illustrated by Iñaki Echeverría. Beya was awarded the Argentine Senate’s Alfredo Palacios Prize and was recognised by the Buenos Aires City Council and the Congress of Buenos Aires Province for its social and cultural significance as well as for its contribution in the fight against human trafficking. During 2013, she was writer-in-residence at UC Berkeley, and in 2019 she was part of the Literarisches Colloquium Berlin.
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