“Lemebel crafts a wonderful snapshot of this period of Chile’s history. . . . Lemebel’s tender story of a time of great unrest provides an extremely engaging read and a portrait of love and loss under a cruel dictator.” Michael Spinella, Booklist
My Tender Matador
978-0-8021-4187-3 • $13.00 • Paperback • Mar. 2005
From Chile’s most provocative novelist, a novel of forbidden love and revolution during Pinochet’s dictatorship
Centered around an historical event that changed Chile foreverthe 1986 attempt on the life of Augusto PinochetMy Tender Matador is the most explosive, controversial, and popular novel to have been published in that country in decades. It is spring 1986 in the city of Santiago and Augusto Pinochet is losing his grip on power. In one of the city’s many poor neighborhoods, the Queen of the Corner, a hopeless and lonely romantic, embroiders linens for the wealthy and listens to boleros to drown out the gunshots and rioting in the streets. Along comes Carlos, a young, handsome man who befriends the aging homosexual and uses his house to store mysterious boxes and hold clandestine meetings. Thus begins a friendship and a love that will have unexpected though vastly different consequences for both.
My Tender Matador is an extraordinary novel of revolution and forbidden love, and a stirring portrait of Chile at a historical crossroads. By turns funny and profoundly moving, Pedro Lemebel’s lyrical prose offers an intimate window into the world and mind of Pinochet himself. As Carlos and the Queen negotiate their unspoken complicity and mismatched affections to the beat of the bolero and the threat of repression, Pinochet contends with revolutionary upstarts, negative world opinion, fascistic reveries, terrifying nightmares, and an endlessly chattering wife who has more respect and affection for her hair stylist than for her husband.
As riveting as it is exquisitely crafted, My Tender Matador marks the fictional debut of one of Chile’s most admired, popular, and challenging literary voices.