Saturday, July 27, 2013

Bellatin, Now on Your I-Pad


The list of Latin American authors available in e-book format just got a notable addition this past week with the launching of Mario Bellatin's Salon de Belleza, the first of his books to become digitalized. This short and haunting novel, which in 2007 was voted by critics as one the 100 best books of the previous 25 years, was posted online by Miami-based Sub-Urbano Ediciones, one of the leading digital publishers of Spanish-language literature. 

"The fact that Bellatin, one of today's most important Latin American authors, decided to launch his first e-book in the U.S. gives an extraordinary boost to all Spanish-language writers in this country," says publisher Pedro Medina, who is also director of Sub-Urbano, the online magazine that preceded the imprint. Hispanic{*}New York and Sub-Urbano are content partners.

"The U.S. is slowly emerging as the new crossroads of Latin American intellectual life," said Bellatin in a statement emailed to HNY by Sub-Urbano's publisher. "For Latin American writers," Bellatin added, "publishing in the U.S. is a way of reaching out to an audience beyond their own countries of origin. And since the actual places in which those exchanges on Latin American literature occur are still limited in the U.S., the e-book seems to be the most perfect way to jump into the conversation." 

Photo: Jorge Kreimer
In Salón de Belleza (which has been translated into English by Kurt Hollander), a strange plague ravages a unnamed city. Rejected by family and friends, sick men have nowhere to finish out their days until a gay hair stylist decides to offer them refuge in his beauty shop, which gets transformed into a sort of medieval hospice. As his “guests” continue to arrive and to die there, his isolation becomes more and more complete.  

Mario Bellatin was born in Mexico in 1960 but grew up in Peru. In 1987 he moved to Cuba on an scholarship to study screen-writing; since 1995 he has resided in Mexico. In 2001 he won the Xavier Villaurrutia Award for Flores (Flowers; Anagrama, 2004) and six years later he received the Mexican National Award for El gran vidrio (The Great Glasswork; Anagrama, 2007). His works, noted for their experimental nature, have been translated into several languages. 

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