A Last Supper of Queer Apostles: Selected Essays (Paperback)

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A Last Supper of Queer Apostles: Selected Essays By Pedro Lemebel, Gwendolyn Harper (Editor), Gwendolyn Harper (Translated by), Gwendolyn Harper (Introduction by), Gwendolyn Harper (Notes by), Idra Novey (Foreword by) Cover Image

A Last Supper of Queer Apostles: Selected Essays (Paperback)

By Pedro Lemebel, Gwendolyn Harper (Editor), Gwendolyn Harper (Translated by), Gwendolyn Harper (Introduction by), Gwendolyn Harper (Notes by), Idra Novey (Foreword by)

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A galvanizing look at life on the margins of society by a crowning figure of Latin America's queer counterculture who celebrated “melodrama, kitsch, extravagance, and vulgarity of all kinds” (Garth Greenwell) in playful, performative, linguistically inventive essays, now available in English for the first time

A Penguin Classic


“I speak from my difference,” wrote Pedro Lemebel, an openly queer writer and artist living through Chile’s AIDS epidemic and the collapse of the Pinochet dictatorship. In brilliantly innovative essays—known as crónicas—that combine memoir, reportage, fiction, history, and poetry, he brought visibility and dignity to sexual minorities, the poor, and the powerless. Touching on everything from Che Guevara to Elizabeth Taylor, from the aftermath of authoritarian rule to the daily lives of Chile’s locas—a slur for trans women and effeminate gay men that he boldly reclaims—his writing infuses political urgency with playfulness, realism with absurdism, and resistance with camp, and his AIDS crónicas immortalize a generation of Chileans doubly “disappeared” by casting each loca, as she falls sick, in the starring role of her own private tragedy. This volume brings together the best of his work, introducing readers of English to the subversive genius of a literary activist and queer icon whose acrobatic explorations of the Santiago demimonde reverberate around the world.
Pedro Lemebel (1952–2015) is considered one of the most important queer writers of twentieth-century Latin America and was also an activist and a performance artist. Born in Santiago, Chile, he became a renowned voice of Latin American counterculture during the Pinochet dictatorship and its aftermath. He received Chile’s José Donoso Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is best known for his crónicas and one novel, My Tender Matador, which has been translated into more than a dozen languages and was adapted in 2020 into a critically acclaimed film by Chilean director Rodrigo Sepúlveda.

Gwendolyn Harper (editor/translator) won a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and a Work in Progress grant from the Robert B. Silvers Foundation for A Last Supper of Queer Apostles. She holds an MFA from Brown University.

Idra Novey (foreword) is the award-winning author of the novels Ways to Disappear, Those Who Knew, and Take What You Need. She lived in Chile for several years, returns often, and has translated work by various Chilean writers, including Nona Fernández and Marco Antonio de la Parra. Her own work has been translated into a dozen languages, and she’s written for The Atlantic, The New York Times, and The Guardian. She teaches fiction writing at Princeton University.
Product Details ISBN: 9780143137085
ISBN-10: 0143137085
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Publication Date: May 28th, 2024
Pages: 272
Language: English
“[Lemebel] speaks brilliantly for a difference that refuses to disappear.” —Garth Greenwell, The New Yorker

“[Lemebel’s writing is] provocative, strange, very Chilean, cantankerous, bitter, funny, sentimental, sharp, elegant, entirely legible and at the same time complex. . . . His work was forged in the night, in the barrio, in life and not in literature. . . . His books changed lives. To say that his work is important for Chilean literature would be stingy: his work is important for Chile.” —Alejandro Zambra

“Lemebel doesn’t have to write poetry to be the best poet of my generation. . . . No one goes deeper than Lemebel. And also, as if that weren’t enough, Lemebel is courageous. That is, he knows how to open his eyes in darkness, in those territories where no one dares enter. . . . When everyone who has treated him like dirt is lost in the cesspit or in nothingness, Pedro Lemebel will still be a star.” Roberto Bolaño

“Extraordinary . . . A testament to the far more varied and beautiful truths about who lives and falls in love in Chile, be­yond the fathers that have dominated its literature . . . Prepare to be wrecked and resurrected, to be pulled into the world of char­acters who come immediately to life and who will not leave you. . . . Lemebel had a tremendous gift for unexpected metaphors, for how to conjure the singularity of a person through one strik­ing sensual detail. . . . Gwendolyn Harper’s lively translations in this volume con­tain all sorts of inventive recreations of Lemebel’s exacting slices into the intestines of Chilean speech. . . . I hope this volume will begin a long overdue international con­versation about, and celebration of, Lemebel’s exhilarating work . . . a body of work that deserves a far more prominent place in the international canon of writing that has expanded humanity’s understanding of itself.” —Idra Novey, from the Foreword

“Lemebel’s critique of the western colonisation of sexual identity was almost as vicious as it was of the Pinochet dictatorship.” The Observer (London)