Solitaire of Love

Solitaire of Love

Book Pages: 120 Illustrations: Published: June 2000

Gender and Sexuality > LGBTQ Studies, Literature and Literary Studies > Fiction, Literary Criticism

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 NightSolitaire 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.


“Peri Rossi magnificently combines intense sexual imagery with a lucid and enigmatic philosophy of erotic love. . . . [T]hose who enjoy the intellectual and sensual pleasures of Duras or Kundera will appreciate this treatment of alienation, sexuality, and power.” — Publishers Weekly

“Stunning, erotic, paradoxical, and painful, this short novel (translated from the Spanish) describes the inner life of a man intoxicated by romantic obsession, alienated from the world, yet acutely alive.” — Chris Dodge, Utne Reader

“A truly original work. Cristina Peri Rossi masterfully orchestrates an alternate and highly intelligent exploration of erotica. Her fabulous writing wittily imbalances the delicate inner linguistic structure of love. Slowly dissecting sexuality, it offers itself at the end of this inner trip as the only linguistic truth: love is a solitary, organic game.” — Teresa M. Vilaros, author of El mono del desencanto

“An extraordinary love story by an extraordinary writer. Love as exile and love as words that devour lonliness and reveal it.” — Ariel Dorfman

“Cristina Peri Rossi is not only aware of the hells of this world, she understands the lures of paradise. Her exquisite prose projects her readers into a surrealistic realm that is filled with forbidden yet fascinating choices.” — Julio Cortázar


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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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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2540-6 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2503-1
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