Beauty Salon has been given a 2010 Stonewall Book Honor for the Barbara Gittings Literature Award.
From the publisher: "Ever on the lookout for interesting new writing from Latin America, especially Mexico, I always pay close attention when my Spanish-speaking friends begin to talk excitedly about what they're reading. Mario Bellatin's name came up in so many conversations that I knew I had to take a look..." Read more and join the conversation under reader reviews.
A mysterious and deadly plague suddenly appears among the inhabitants of an unnamed city. Shunned by family and friends, some of the afflicted have nowhere to finish out their days until a lone hair stylist decides to convert his "Salon to the Stars" into a refuge for the dying. A connoisseur of exotic fish whose many aquariums adorn the salon, he creates a kind of medieval hospice. Time passes, his "guests" continue to arrive and die, and his isolation becomes more and more complete. All the while, the multicolored fish bear silent witness to his almost saintly dedication. Without medicines, pity or moralizing, he dispenses care until he meets his own end, in this dream-like parable from one of Mexico's cutting-edge literary stars.
Praise for Beauty Salon:
"When this disquieting novella appeared, told in a spare poetic language that seemed at once familiar and hauntingly strange, Mexican (and even Latin American) literature changed. Many readers sensed that here, at last, was a writer who truly spoke for them, of their secrets and secret selves and submerged dreams, in a voice they hadn't realized could actually find expression, much less appear in a book. Since then Mario Bellatin's influence and prestige have grown with each subsequent book, all of them marvels, like gifts from the future."
Praise for Mario Bellatín:
"Mario Bellatín has indisputably become one of the literary stars of the Latin American scene."
—"Radar Libros," Argentina
"One of the most original figures of recent Latin American fiction."
"Bellatín's unusual narrative world doesn't need to exceed the conventional limits of the short novel in order to take possession of mind of the reader, who's left seduced by the turbid and convulsive beauty of his stories."
—El País, Spain
"Bellatín is fundamentally a skeptic and, like David Lynch, he's most comfortable showing us images as fixed and isolated moments. Under his focus, and maybe in spite of it, I saw faces adopting strangely discordant and beautiful forms."
—New Pages Book Review