Fiction. Translated from the Spanish by Suzanne Jill Levine and Carol Maier. In his lifetime Severo Sarduy was best known for his exquistely wrought neo-baroque prose, but he was also an abstract painter and wrote plays and poetry in addition to fiction and essays. He abandoned medical school as a young man to pursue the world of art and literature, leaving his native Cuba shortly after the Revolution in 1960. He later became associated with the Parisian literary scene of the 1960's and 70's and later became a French citizen. Of his work Bruce Benderson writes, "Severo Sarduy was a baroque comedian and a callused workhorse in one...Each jewel-like sentence is structured with tawdry detail, only to unfold like a paper origami trick into new and more convoluted gesticulation, a new sacrilige."
Novelist, poet, painter, and literary theorist, Severo Sarduy was one of the most groundbreaking Latin American writers of the twentieth century. Born in Camagüey, Cuba in 1937, he moved to Havana in 1956 to study medicine, but soon gave up his scientific pursuits for the arts. Often homoerotic and imbued with allusions to art, the absent or decaying body, the history of science, jazz and folk music, and the author's Spanish, African, and Chinese heritage, Sarduy's poetry has rarely appeared in translation, but his literary oeuvre was vast. Gabriel García Márquez once called Sarduy the best writer in the Spanish language. Richard Howard hailed Sarduy as a writer who "has everything...so brilliant, so funny, and so bewilderingly apt in his borrowings, his derivations, as well as in his inventions." Sarduy's neo-baroque style influenced such Spanish-language novelists as Mario Vargas Llosa, Juan Goytisolo, and Carlos Fuentes. From 1960 until the time of his death, the poet lived in Paris where he worked with Roland Barthes, Julia Kristeva, and many others, on the literary magazine Tel Quel. Sarduy died due to complications with AIDS in 1993. Severo is the author of BEACH BIRDS (Otis Books / Seismicity Editions, 2007) and FOOTWORK: SELECTED POEMS (Circumference Books, 2021).Author City: CAMAGUEY CUB