RELEASED DATE: October 28, 2021
George Rabasa's much anticipated new novel, Undressing Lavinia, is a mosaic of memory and imagination, where past and present collide, and ghosts speak to the living.
Told from multiple character points of view and alternating timelines, Undressing Lavinia offers a revealing story of a woman's life as she faces her own cancer diagnosis and death. This moving and honest portrait is a profoundly insightful look into the complexities of family, culture, sexuality, mourning, and commitment. Spanning sixty-some years—from growing up in Mexico and attending school at Harvard to settling in the Midwest and traveling the world—the story of Lavinia is filled with intimate secrets and unexpected twists.
No other obsession strikes as hard as the love that hits a teenaged boy — especially if he’s the sort of kid who is no saner than he wants to be. From the moment Adam Webb sees Francine Haggard—in the van that is supposed to return them to the Institute Loiseaux—the two young mental patients are inextricably connected. Adam will never let this girl go. From hiding her in his bedroom to spiriting her away to Minnesota’s north woods, “Miss Entropia” becomes the focus of Adam’s every thought and of everything he does. He believes her to be a goddess, his own goddess. But the pyromaniacal Miss Entropia will be neither worshiped nor owned. And so Adam’s possessiveness is destined to push her to the breaking point. Theirs is an incendiary love story, an unbalanced Romeo and Juliet, that spins and arcs its way strangely toward tragedy.
Mark Lockwood has been hired by the European opera star Mercé Casals, now in her eighties and living in Southern California, to write her memoirs. While in the middle of recording the Señora’s adventures with war, fame, scandal, seduction and betrayal, the diva dies of cardiac arrest in her bath. The ghost writer is left wth a silent client.
Armed with 500 hours of interviews on cassettes and his own ingenuity, Lockwood must piece together the missing gaps in the singer’s life. Out to thwart the writer’s claim on the Señora’s story are her former agent, Hollywood Hank, and best selling bio-sleezer Alonzo Baylor.
The Wonder Singer takes shape as a book-within-a-book and sweeps Lockwood along the dizzying chronology of the diva’s life, beginning with the card game in which her father loses her to Pep Saval, the rustic showman who becomes her mentor, father-figure, and seducer. Along the way, we follow her survival during the Spanish Civil War, her marriage to a philandering tenor, and her love affair with an exiled prince.
Lockwood is aided in his deadline race by a colorful set of characters, including a beautiful nurse specializing in deathbed cases; Orson LaPrima, worshipful opera buff; and Nolan Keefe, Mercé’s husband exiled to the exclusive Villa Age D’Or, and who may or may not have secrets to reveal.
In this contemporary caper Lockwood sorts through the rich, contradictory, and sometimes dark details of a grand, dramatic life. In the process he discovers that the lesson of Casals’ life is about finding a purpose and a voice for the stories that must be told.
What happens when the former friend reappears twenty years later, a cancer patient in the doctor’s pathology lab, shows that none of us can escape our secrets.
Flashing between the post-9/11 U.S. and 1980s Mexico, The Cleansing details a love triangle, or diamond, if you will. Adelle, a fearless American photojournalist, attracts both Paul and Victor, and the three become uneasy friends. Mexico City itself is the fourth player in this game, beautiful and decadent, urban and cosmopolitan, torn between policia and narcos, with the division not as clear as the expatriates first think.
The Cleansing is about a reckoning of moral culpability in a corrupt setting.
No matter our excuses, the past will come to find us.
"Fallen Coconuts and Dead Fish," story, Green Hills.
"Ask Señor Totol," story, Hayden’s Ferry.
"Hay Soos Saves," story, North Dakota Quarterly.
"For the Solitary Soul," story, South Carolina Review.
"Three Incidents in the Early Life of El Perro," story, Atlanta Review.