Nine short stories open a door into working class Santurce, Puerto Rico, where shoddy medical offices, Catholic churches, Mormon temples, and Santeria storefronts line the sunbaked streets. Here, a bumbling prostitute-turned-fugitive bewilderingly avoids capture. Back-biting mothers hand down judgment on their neighbors and the world at large from their front lawns. A desperate dog-owner will do anything to have his precious animal sent to a taxidermist. A young Chosen One with a curious gift helps his fellow parishioners find God.
Mundo Cruel, Luis Negron's debut book, elegantly presents to its readers a world both tragic and outrageous. Masterfully satirical with a discrete solemnity at its core, Mundo Cruel's most remarkable element is its language. Several of its stories feature unnamed protagonists brought to life by their speech—colloquial, self-incriminating, and idiosyncratic—revealing Negron's mesmerizing talent for conjuring the spoken word in all its subtlety.
What has been said about Mundo Cruel:
"Hilarious and heart-wrenching, provocative and pitch-perfect, each story is a tiny, transgressive explosion. I feel inadequate to the task of expressing just how wonderful this book is...read it slowly, and listen close; here is a master storyteller at his finest."—Justin Torres, author of We The Animals
"Slender but never slight, and often extremely funny, the nine stories in this debut collection offer insight into both gay life in Puerto Rico and the human condition in general... In the end, the reader should be left both completely satisfied and wanting more."—Publishers Weekly
"Negrón is perhaps the most intimate and unsuspected heir to Manuel Puig."—Antonio Jiménez Morato, author of Lima y Limón
"These nine stories are rude, beautiful, funny, tender, sarcastic but, above all, human."—Guillermo Barquero, Sentencias inútiles
"Like a cross between Manuel Puig and Luis Rafael Sánchez, the author of these stories shows us the tenderness, the love, and the bravery of those who decide to embrace their identity, whatever it happens to be."—Margarita Pintado Burgos, Desvalijadas
LUIS NEGRON was born in the city of Guayama, Puerto Rico, in 1970. He studied journalism and has written film reviews for major Puerto Rican periodicals including Claridad and El Poeta. He has worked extensively in the queer arts community in Puerto Rico, including a founding role in Producciones Mano Santa, which has sponsored cultural and artistic productions over the last ten years. He co-edited Los Otros Cuerpos, an anthology of queer writing from Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican diaspora.
SUZANNE JILL LEVINE's acclaimed translations, which include works by Guillermo Cabrera Infante (Three Trapped Tigers) and Manuel Puig (Betrayed by Rita Hayworth), have helped introduce the world to some of the icons of contemporary Latin American literature. She is also editor of Penguin Classics' essays and poetry of Jorge Luis Borges and the author of The Subversive Scribe: Translating Latin American Fiction. She is the winner of PEN USA's Translation Award 2012 for her translation of Jose Donoso's The Lizard's Tale.