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Solitaire of Love

By
Cristina Peri Rossi
Cristina Peri Rossi

Cristina Peri Rossi was born in Uruguay in 1941. At the age of 31, her political activism prompted her to flee to Spain, where she has since remained. The author of twenty books—including Dostoevsky’s Last Night and A Forbidden Passion—Peri Rossi was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim grant for fiction in 1994 and the City of Barcelona Prize for the best book of Spanish poetry in 1991. Her works have been translated into a dozen languages.

Robert S. Rudder is author of The Literature of Spain in English Translation: A Biography. Gloria Arjona has previously translated two books with Rudder, Nazarin and City of Kings.

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Duke University Press
ISBN electronic:
978-0-8223-9811-0
Publication date:
2000

Solitaire of Love, an achingly lyrical novel by internationally acclaimed Latin American writer Cristina Peri Rossi, explores the sense of emotional exile that sexual passion can evoke. Only the fourth book of Peri Rossi’s to be translated into English—the others are The Ship of Fools, A Forbidden Passion, and Dostoevsky’s Last Night—Solitaire of Love showcases the mesmerizingly rhythmic language that has become the trademark of this award-winning and prolific author of novels, essay collections, poetry, and short stories.

Tracing the course of a relationship as it evolves into uncompromising self-destruction, the narrator of Solitaire of Love becomes addicted to his own passion and to the body of his beloved. Erotic, romantic love becomes bewitchment, producing a heightened state where time is measured in the rhythms of a chosen body and pride becomes subservient to obsession. The specifics of this other body trump any claim to ordinary existence for the narrator, as sex becomes a kind of idolatrous slavery and love becomes a mechanism for self-immolation. As in Peri Rossi’s other works, an ambiguous sense of gender and sexuality arise from her uniquely experimental prose and mystically erotic logic. Language is subsumed into this process as a way to bear witness, to transfix and capture the love object. The limbo of obsession, as described by Peri Rossi, creates an infantilizing brand of loneliness, broken by flashes of joy, insight, fury, and fear.

This novel was originally published in Spanish in 1988.

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