Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

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Winner of the 2014 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction

Translated by Suzanne Jill Levine

Nine short stories open a door into working class Santurce, Puerto Rico, where shoddy medical offices, Catholic churches, Mormon temples, and Santeria storefronts line the sunbaked streets. Here, a bumbling prostitute-turned-fugitive bewilderingly avoids capture. Back-biting mothers hand down judgment on their neighbors and the world at large from their front lawns. A desperate dog-owner will do anything to have his precious animal sent to a taxidermist. A young Chosen One with a curious gift helps his fellow parishioners find God.

Mundo Cruel, Luis Negron's debut book, elegantly presents to its readers a world both tragic and outrageous. Masterfully satirical with a discrete solemnity at its core, Mundo Cruel's most remarkable element is its language. Several of its stories feature unnamed protagonists brought to life by their speech—colloquial, self-incriminating, and idiosyncratic—revealing Negron's mesmerizing talent for conjuring the spoken word in all its subtlety.

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“Hilarious and heart-wrenching, provocative and pitch-perfect, each story is a tiny, transgressive explosion. I feel inadequate to the task of expressing just how wonderful this book is...read it slowly, and listen close; here is a master storyteller at his finest.”

“Slender but never slight, and often extremely funny, the nine stories in this debut collection offer insight into both gay life in Puerto Rico and the human condition in general... In the end, the reader should be left both completely satisfied and wanting more.”

“A study in verve, sass, and voice, peppered with a dash of spirituality. Short and sweet...Mundo Cruel is a shrewd celebration of subversion, to be sure, but for all its bravado the broader point here is a quiet reaffirmation that we all possess the innate capacity to subvert the status quo. Queerness is merely one mechanism (perhaps the most fun) by which it can be accomplished.”

“Negrón is perhaps the most intimate and unsuspected heir to Manuel Puig.”

“These nine stories are rude, beautiful, funny, tender, sarcastic but, above all, human.”

“Like a cross between Manuel Puig and Luis Rafael Sánchez, the author of these stories shows us the tenderness, the love, and the bravery of those who decide to embrace their identity, whatever it happens to be.”

blog — January 31

An Interview with Translator Suzanne Jill Levine

We sat down with writer and master translator Suzanne Jill Levine at the Seven Stories offices to discuss how she became a translator in the first place, her pioneering book The Subversive Scribe, literalism vs. essentialism in translation, and her work translating Seven Stories authors Guadalupe Nettel's forthcoming Bezoar and Other Unsettling Stories (2020) and Luis Negrón's brilliant, outrageous Mundo Cruel. A verité interview complete with phones ringing, doors closing, and some warm-up chatter in the beginning. Hope you enjoy!

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Born in the city of Guayama, Puerto Rico in 1970, Luis Negrón is the co-editor of Los otros cuerpos, an anthology of queer writing from Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican diaspora. The original Spanish language edition of Mundo Cruel, translated into the English and published by Seven Stories, was printed in Puerto Rico in 2010 by La Secta de Los Perros, then by Libros AC, and is now in its fourth printing.