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Sometimes they talk all night long. In the still darkness of their cell, Molina re-weaves the glittering and fragile stories of the films he loves, and the cynical Valentin listens. Valentin believes in the just cause which makes all suffering bearable; Molina believes in the magic of love which makes all else endurable. Each has always been alone, and always - especially now - in danger of betrayal. But in cell 7 each surrenders to the other something of himself that he has never surrendered before.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099342007
ISBN-10: 0099342006
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 18mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 3-Jan-1998
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


US Kirkus Review » Two men - Valentin, a young Marxist held on political charges, and Molina, a 37-year-old window-dresser convicted of pederasty - share a Buenos Aires prison cell. Why? Because the warden assumes that Valentin will negligently spill information about his fellow revolutionaries to Molina, that Molina will then pass along this info; and Molina fosters the warden's assumption. But quite the opposite turns out to be the case: Molina in reality acts as Valentin's mother/protector, nursing him over terrible diarrhea caused by purposely-tainted food and feeding him instead from food packages gulled from the warden. Molina also entertains Valentin by telling about old films he's seen: voodoo cheapies, Nazi propaganda romances, trashy Mexican melodramas - a continuity that battles jail time, a soothing, ongoing ribbon of images that gives the book a satisfying meta-narrative quality. And in time, Valentin responds to Molina's kindness and lack of demands; the relationship grows organically, through benevolence and desperation, with a top crust of sentimentality that soon gives way to reveal Puig's real intent: the interlocking of Valentin's position as a victim of political repression with Molina's sexual persecution. All of this works, and the theme emerges just as it should, clearly but quietly. Why then did Puig feel the need to belabor this political/sexual parallel in a fussy, essay-like footnote that appears in pieces throughout the book, explicitly constructing a theory for gay liberation with references to Freud, Marcuse, and Dennis Altman? This eccentric, gifted writer should have trusted this book - and wise readers will trust it enough to ignore the footnotes - because it is his richest, least mannered work yet, especially well served by the spare tact of Thomas Colchie's translation. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Manuel Puig

Mauel Puig was born in 1932 in a small town in the Argentinian pampas. He studied philosophy at the University of Buenos Aires, and in 1956 won a scholarship from the Italian Institute in Buenos Aires and chose to pursue studies in film direction at the Cinecitta in Rome. There he worked in films until 1962, where he began to write his first novel. Exiled from Argentina, he settled in New York City in 1963. Puig's novels - Betrayed by Rita Hayworth, Heartbreak Tango, The Buenos Aires Affair, Kiss of the Spider Woman, and Eternal Curse on the Reader of These Pages- have been translated into fourteen languages and secured his international reputation. He died in July 1990.

Books By Author Manuel Puig

Buenos Aires Affair by Manuel Puig

The Buenos Aires Affair

Paperback, August 2010
Betrayed by Rita Hayworth by Manuel Puig

Betrayed by Rita Hayworth

Paperback, April 2009
Under a Mantle of Stars by Manuel Puig

Under a Mantle of Stars

Paperback, December 1993