The Queens Of Sarmiento Park, a moving and honest novel from Argentinian writer Camila Sosa Villada, is in part based on her actual experiences. It’s a coming-of-age story whose narrator – named Camila, indeed – details the lives of the ‘travesti’ who join together at Sarmiento Park during the Cordoba nights to make a living as sex workers.
Central to the lives of the group is Aunty Encarna, who owns the “queerest boarding house in the world” and who one night discovers a baby boy hidden within the park. The decision to keep him in her care ultimately leads to consequences for the wider family. Highlighting the themes of gender, love and family, the raw experiences are described in graphic, unflinching detail – portrayed by a host of unforgettable characters, and providing an honest account of the heartbreaking and difficult experiences shared on a daily basis.
Having received international acclaim and been translated into several languages, The Queens of Sarmiento Park’s English translator Kit Maude has expertly captured Villada’s poetic turns of phrase. This is an illuminating and imaginative story featuring hints of surrealism and plenty of drama, whose author conveys the visceral journey and provides a thought-provoking, hopeful read.
The Queens Of Sarmiento Park, Camila Sosa Villada [trans. Kit Maude] (Virago)
Price: £14.99. Info: here
words RHIANON HOLLEY
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