Manuel Puig, the author repudiated by the Latin American boom


“Boquitas pintadas” (Heartbreaking Tango), “The Buenos Aires Affair”, “El beso de la mujer araña” (The Kiss of the Spider Woman)… Here are some of the author’s best-known titles Argentinian Manuel Puig (General Villegas, 1932 – Cuernavaca, 1990) that SThe publishing house eix Barral has just reissued on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of his birth.

Considered a “rara avis” of Hispanic literature, Manuel Puig published his first novel, “La traición de Rita Hayworth” (1968), coinciding with the outbreak of the Latin American literary boom, a movement in which he did not fit never, as the critic Miguel Lorenci notes in the newspaper Las Provincias.

Able to configure his own style, he was widely criticized for incorporating several references to popular culture into his novels, as well as a strong presence of female characters or the LGTB community.

Seix Barral has now recovered nine of his novels, always daring and different, with a provocative modernity, which places him ahead of his contemporary writers, as if he came from the future.

Listed in chronological order, the first of these is “The Betrayal of Rita Hayworth” (1968) (Betrayed By Rita Hayworth), an autobiographical novel inspired by the suffocating provincialism of his childhood, which tells the story of a young man who feels different from others, and whose only window on the world is the screen of a movie theatre.

Like the protagonist, Puig spent his childhood in his small hometown, then emigrated to Buenos Aires to finish high school. After having started various higher education, he chose to train in cinema, for which he moved to Italy. He did not complete his training and ended up working as a writer. He has lived in Rome, Paris, London, Stockholm, Mexico City, New York, Rio de Janeiro and Cuernavaca. Puig came to terms with his homosexuality from an early age, although he did not believe that sexuality was something that defined a person’s identity.

“Repudiated by much of the Latin American boom and academic critics for considering it to be dealing in sentimentality and corniness, Puig defined himself as a defender of individual freedom who was interested in “revealing the impostures, simulations and cover-ups that hurt us deeply, while building emotional bridges and weaving emotional bonds with strangers, combining the pleasure of entertainment with social denunciation”, writes Antonio Lozanos in the Barcelona daily La Avant-garde.

Another of his star novels republished by Seix Barral is “Boquitas pintadas” (Broken Tango) (1969), with a prologue by the writer María Dueñas, which mixes passion, crime and “family secrets to the rhythm of tango and bolero “.

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This title is followed by “The Buenos Aires Affair” (1973), with a prologue by the writer Mario Mendoza. It is a detective novel with political and sentimental overtones that was not well received in Argentina, as it was censored and forced the author into exile.

Most of these novels have been translated into English.

  • El beso de la mujer araña / Kiss of the spider woman

Prologue by Antonio Muñoz Molina

  • La traición de Rita Hayworth / Betrayed By Rita Hayworth

Bob Pop Prologue

  • Angelic Pubis / Angelic Pubis

Prologue by Camila Sosa Villada

  • Boquitas pintadas / Heartbreaking Tango

Prologue by Maria Duenas

  • The Buenos Aires Affair / The Buenos Aires Affair

Prologue by Mario Mendoza

  • Cae la noche tropical / Tropical Night Falling

Prologue by Tamara Tenenbaum

  • Sangre de amor correspondido / Blood of Required Lov

Prologue by Paulina Flores

  • Maldición eterna a quien lea estas páginas / Eternal Curse on Reader of These Pages

Prologue by Claudia Pineiro


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