Mario Bellatin grew up in Peru as the son of Peruvian parents. He spent two years studying theology at the seminary Santo Toribio de Mogrovejo and graduated from the University of Lima. In 1987, Bellatin moved to Cuba, where he studied screenplay writing at the International Film School Latinoamericana. On his return to Mexico in 1995, he became the director of the Department of Literature and Humanities at the University of the Cloister of Sor Juana and became a member of the National System of Creators of Mexico from 1999 to 2005. He is currently the director of the School of Writers Dynamics in Mexico City.
His work is widely known and distributed, with translations into English, German, French and Malayalam. While he has participated in writing workshops around the United States, his work is very little known in the English-speaking world. Bellatin is celebrated as a leading voice in Spanish fiction for his experimental and fragmented writing, which artfully intertwines reality and creation. As a result of a birth defect that left him missing much of his right arm, a good portion of his fiction concerns characters that are deformed or diseased or with an uncertain sexual identity. Bellatin was quoted in the New York Times as saying, "To me literature is a game, a search for ways to break through borders. But in my work the rules of the game are always obvious, the guts are exposed, and you can see what is being cooked up.”
Bellatin is seen as a renewer in Peruvian literature. Alonso Cueto wrote of him: "There is a new generation of writers in Peru that wishes to break with the usual form of writing realistic novels. Iván Thays and Mario Bellatin are the masters of this group of young writers." He has received positive reviews from other writers. For instance Mario Vargas Llosa described him as "one of the most interesting writers that have arisen in Latin America in recent years."
Here follows a selection of awards and grants:
National Book Award, Sponsored by Municipal Institute of Culture, Tourism and Art of Mazatlan, 2008
Guggenheim grant, 2002
Beauty Salon by Mario Bellatin
Paperback: 72 pages
Publisher: City Lights Publishers (July 1, 2009)
Amazon: Beauty Salon
"Like much of Mr. Bellatin’s work, Beauty Salon is pithy, allegorical and profoundly disturbing, with a plot that evokes The Plague by Camus or Blindness by José Saramago."--New York Times
"Including a few details that may linger uncomfortably with the reader for a long time, this is contemporary naturalism as disturbing as it gets."--Booklist
A strange plague appears in a large city. Rejected by family and friends, some of the sick have nowhere to finish out their days until a hair stylist decides to offer refuge. He ends up converting his beauty shop, which he’s filled with tanks of exotic fish, into a sort of medieval hospice. As his “guests” continue to arrive and to die, his isolation becomes more and more complete in this dream-hazy parable by one of Mexico’s cutting-edge literary stars.
More Spotlights at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Lists/Gay Novels
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