2020 Longlist



Translated from the Spanish by Heather Cleary

2020 Longlist

On the outskirts of Buenos Aires in 1907, Doctor Quintana pines for head nurse Menéndez while he and his colleagues embark on a grisly series of experiments to investigate the line between life and death. One hundred years later, a celebrated artist goes to extremes in search of aesthetic transformation, turning himself into an art object. How far are we willing to go, Larraquy asks, in pursuit of transcendence? The world of Comemadre is full of vulgarity, excess, and farce: strange ants that form almost perfect circles, missing body parts, obsessive love affairs, and flesh-eating plants. Here the monstrous is not alien, but the consequence of our relentless pursuit of collective and personal progress.

About the Author

Roque Larraquy is an Argentinian writer, screenwriter, professor of narrative and audio-visual design, and the author of two books, La Comemadre and Informe sobre ectoplasma animal. Comemadre will be his first book published in English.

Librarian’s Comments

Comemadre, Roque Larraquy’s first book translated into English, is a compact, whimsical, and often horrific take on humanity’s grandest curiosities and aspirations. In 1907, the medical staff at a sanitarium outside Buenos Aires experiment with beheading patients to better understand life and death. In 2009, an artist confronts scholarship on his life and aesthetics, detailing his journey from artist to piece of art through the deformities, mutilations, and physical transformations of himself and others. With a clever use of recurring symbols and imagery, and criticism that is sometimes serious, but always winking, Larraquy connects these disparate words in surprising, entertaining ways.  Cleveland Public Library, USA



Coffee House Press


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