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Kiss of the Spider Woman and Two Other Plays

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3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,872 Ratings  ·  422 Reviews
Compiled together for the first time, here are three plays by Argentine novelist and playwright Manual Puig: the well-known Kiss of the Spider Woman, a sharply provocative tale of love, victimization, and fantasy, and of the friendship that develops between two strikingly different men imprisoned together in a Latin American jail; Puig's first drama written directly for th ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published May 17th 1994 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1976)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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MkB
Aug 26, 2007 MkB rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
-- What are you reading?
-- Kiss of the Spider Woman.
-- Hey, I've heard of that.
-- Likely because of the movie that was made of it.
-- How is the book?
-- Fantastic. Essentially all dialogue, but somehow all the more descriptive for it.
-- Huh. You gonna finish those fries?
Jessica
So funny thing, I actually started this book once when I was a kid, maybe about nine years old? Strangely, I thought I remembered what I'd read really clearly, but then on this rereading realized I'd read more of it before than I'd previously realized. Also funny, my passion for this book waned around the same place this time as when I was nine, though this time I stuck with it and followed through to the end.

So this book takes place in a Latin American prison cell occupied by a political prison
...more
Hadrian
This is a book which uses all but the usual narrative methods. Conversation, transcripts, reports, foot notes, movie summaries, everything but the usual descriptive linear way.

The story is about two prisoners - Arregui, with political charges, and Molina, for 'corrupting the youth' - that is, homosexuality. The conversations are about films, the stories about them. Molina tells a story about what must be a romance made in Nazi Germany, a racist propaganda piece, but he finds the emotions in the
...more
Fabian
Aug 01, 2008 Fabian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
More than anything, this book gets me excited about the possibilities of writing. Puig revolutionizes the way the novel is framed: his awesome work is a play, a stream of consciousness, a historic document, a research paper, a review of films... it is all these things in one poignant and hard-to-put-down novel.

The two main characters (Molina, the sad, deceitful and complex "Spider Woman" who lures and tests the headstrong Valentin) hold entire worlds inside of them. They are both outcasts, trag
...more
Vit Babenco
Apr 07, 2016 Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kiss of the Spider Woman is a powerful psychological drama – a dark chamber nocturne.
Sometimes the entire state turns into a jail and then prisons become just a continuation of the state…
There are two men in a prison cell: one is effete and the other is masculine, one is a seducer the other is a revolutionary, and each of them pursues his own benefit…
“…when they switch on a strong spotlight, the appearance of such a strange woman, with a long dress on, that’s shining, ‘Silver lamé, that fits he
...more
Lacolz
Apr 02, 2012 Lacolz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
—¿Te imaginas una historia donde pones a un preso político compartiendo celda con un homosexual?
—¿Un rojillo y un travesti?
—Sí, algo así. ¿Te lo imaginas?
—Sí. Y de hecho, más que imaginarlo, eso ya lo he leído.
—¿Y qué tal?
—Bueno, pues así como lo planteas, de entrada, no suena mal, pero no le estás haciendo justicia a la novela, al autor.
—¿Por?
—Bueno, así como lo planteas dejas de lado muchas cosas.
—Pero es que sólo es una pregunta detonante.
—De todas maneras, no transmites la indiferencia del u
...more
Teresa
May 06, 2015 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-argentina
"-Não, eu não me arrependo de nada. Cada vez me convenço mais de que o sexo é a pura inocência.",
diz Valentín a Molina...

Valentín Paz é um prisioneiro político. Luis Molina está preso por corrupção de menores, ou seja, porque é homossexual.
Estão juntos numa cela de uma prisão de Buenos Aires, no ano de 1975.
Para que o tempo custe menos a passar, Molina conta filmes, que viu quando era livre, os quais servem de pretexto para se irem revelando a si próprios e um ao outro. E vão criando uma ligação
...more
Michael
Jan 01, 2009 Michael rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Failed revolutionaries, cynics, people who like to whine
Most everything about this odd book is enjoyable: the dialogue is crisp and never flat, the characters believably drawn, and the film plots that comprise much of the storytelling are told with startling freshness. Valentin and Molina's cell could be anywhere where two people are discussing life; Puig's themes are universal, the suffering is real. There are a few unexpected twists that keep the heart of the rather dry story beating, and it is apparent that Puig feels deeply about both men and has ...more
Jamie
Feb 21, 2009 Jamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: po-mo freaks, lovers of weird lit
Shelves: 1001-books, undergrad
Really fascinating novel that I wasn't expecting to like at first. You're kind of swept up in the dialogue between unidentifiable characters in an unidentifiable setting--and you're left in this limbo for a good 20 or so pages. But Puig's undercutting of generic and authorial authority in the text, his wonderful use of oral storytelling (in written form?), and the politics implicit and explicit to the text make this both an enjoyable and provocative read. By the end of the novel, I felt as thoug ...more
brian
Dec 19, 2008 brian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
no comment.

i have a few rules regarding bookface. one of 'em being that you just don't write a book report within a month of DFJ reporting on the same book. i mean, c'mon. it'd be like singing a duet with morrissey. or crossing swords with john holmes. or moving into the kremlin directly after stalin. or going scotch for scotch with christopher hitchens...

you're only gonna look like an asshole when compared to a master.
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
The book's blurb says this was made into a film where William Hurt, who played the role of Molina, was named best actor at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival. I haven't seen the movie but I was not surprised by this: Molina is a difficult role for any actor.

Molina here is a gay guy who is in a Latin American prison for child molestation. He becomes the cellmate of Valentin, a fanatical revolutionary. No two persons could have been more different. Molina has no interest whatsoever in politics which, h
...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
I'm hard pressed to describe my reaction to this book. I have difficulty, too, deciding on a final rating.

Four stars, I think, for an innovative way of presenting the story and characters. This is told entirely in dialog. At first, we don't even know the character names and learn them only because one addresses the other by name. Characterization is revealed only by what we learn from them. There are a couple of very brief government reports giving official background on the crimes that put the
...more
Nathanial
Aug 11, 2007 Nathanial rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: jailbird faggots
Shelves: drama
Puig's tale consists [almost] entirely of dialogue. Written in the mid-seventies, during the Argentinian junta of 'disappearances' and mass incarceration, Kiss of the Spider Woman traces the evolving relationship of two convicts: a youthful dissident and an older homosexual. Later made into a successful movie, the plot itself mainly revolves around the movies that one character describes to the second. As a book of ideas, Puig's short novel glosses over character history and contextual backgroun ...more
João Roque
Mar 06, 2016 João Roque rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gays, narrativa
Já tinha visto há anos o excelente filme de H.Babenco e com uma extraordinária interpretação de William Hurt no papel de Molina.
Agora foi a vez de ler o livro e claro que a narrativa é muito mais completa que o livro, nomeadamente quando Molina vai contando a Aguirre os seus filmes preferidos, com muita vivacidade e um colorido muito latinos.
Manuel Puig mostra ser um excelente autor e faz-me ter vontade de ler outras obras suas.
Rebecca McNutt
Better than I thought it'd be, very creepy and original. It wasn't the most memorable book in the world, though.
Brenda
Apr 03, 2015 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, to-own, español
Well, well, well...



I didn't expected that.
(view spoiler)
I had a perfect gif for this but that fucking image error
Plus, the best footnotes ever.
...more
Kalina
Nov 04, 2015 Kalina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
На екрана - двама души в една килия, диалогът им, плюс многоточията. В киносалона - авторът, преводачът-нинджа, аз и читателят, заел книгата преди мен от библиотеката и подчертавал тънко с молив. Голям филм.
Beatriz Chavarri
Si ya con Boquitas pintadas sentía que Manuel Puig era un autor fenomenal, con la rara capacidad de desdoblarse y crear un discurso completamente femenino, sin que se sintiera el artificio literario (no se siente como un escritor imitando la voz de una mujer, sino que parece que se lee el diario de una mujer, y no de paso una mujer de altos vuelos intelectuales sino criada entre radionovelas, tangos y boleros), con El beso de la mujer araña descubrí a un autor a quien bien puedo llamar genial, a ...more
A-ron
Sep 29, 2007 A-ron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I did not know this was "gay" literature when I picked it up. Although I suspect it is one of the reasons for its critical acclaim, I think sexuality and its themes are overrated in literature, and so ignore that hype. I enjoyed this book for its own sake. The writing was very good, so good that I did not notice the lack of a narrator until I finished. All of the text within save a few footnotes is spoken or written or thought by a character which gives the story an immediacy it would otherwise ...more
SurferRosa
Dec 01, 2015 SurferRosa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: latinoamericana
Puig è stato molto abile nel dipingere il ritratto di un'umanità dibattuta fra "ragione" e "ragioni del cuore", dove ciò che conta sono i sentimenti della solidarietà dell'amicizia e dell'amore, attraverso la descrizione del rapporto che matura fra i due detenuti Molina e Valentìn, il primo incarcerato per corruzione di minorenne, il secondo per motivi politici, negli anni della dittatura argentina. Il prodotto finale del rapporo fra i due risulta come un'oasi di libertà dalle pressioni e oppres ...more
Fabiola
May 01, 2016 Fabiola rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reseña completa: El beso de la mujer araña

El beso de la mujer araña se prohibió en los años 70 por la dictadura militar argentina, pero es difícil dar una respuesta precisa del porqué aunque parece bastante obvio. Sin embargo, para contestar valdría preguntarse cuál personaje es más inquietante: el homosexual o el preso político, Valentín Arregui o Molina. Para mí los dos son verdades incómodas, realidades que podemos marginar convenientemente en una institución capaz de modificarla: la cárcel.

A
...more
blakeR
Dec 14, 2015 blakeR rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Crítica en español primero. . . English review below)

Un libro totalmente distinto que cualquier otro que nunca he leído. La historia se cuenta sin nada de narración -- a parte del mero final que se cuenta con las observaciones anotadas de una unidad de vigilancia -- sino con puro diálogo. Y lo más sorprendente es que más o menos funcione. El cuento de dos prisioneros, Valentín y Molina, dos opuestos quienes juntos descubren un interno territorio previamente desconocido, quienes entran en una re
...more
Gabriel Unheimlich
Una novela extraordinaria. La había leído como hace diez años, pero me gustó mucho más esta segunda. Manuel Puig es un escritor espectacular.
Simay Yildiz
Dec 24, 2015 Simay Yildiz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt, canlabirsene
Bu yazının orijinali canlabirsene'de yayınlandı.

1970'ler... Arjantin, faşist diktatörlük altında... Herkes, her şeyi içine atmak zorunda... İnsanlar üzerinde inanılmaz bir baskı... Ve Buenos Aires'teki hapishanede aynı hücreye düşmüş, bambaşka iki adam: Valentin ve Molina. Orta yaşlı Molina, vitrin tasarımcısı, eşcinsel; reşit olmayan bir oğlanla birlikte olduğu için hapishanede. Daha genç, bir devrimci örgüt üyesi olan Valentin'in suçu ise hükümeti devirmeye çalışan bir topluluğa üye olması...

Ö
...more
Tony
Dec 31, 2008 Tony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Puig, Manuel. KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN. (Eng. trans. – 1978). *****. This novel has been sitting on my to-be-read pile for almost three years now. I managed to find a first edition in a used book shop in Seattle back then, but never got around to reading it. I remember seeing the film many years ago and thinking it was fabulous but never got around to reading the original. I’m glad I finally did. Two men are cellmates in an Argentine prison. Molina is a windo dresser, homosexual, sentenced to ei ...more
Raisu
Remember VCR? We had had the movie "Kiss of the Spider Woman" on tape when I was in high-school. It was taped from TV by my parents. But then something else was taped over it, E.R. or My So Called Life, probably, because those were the things we kids watched back then. So, when that episode of the aforementioned E.R. or MSCL ended, the movie begun, but not from the beginning. It was confusing, but very engrossing, so I ended up watching it anyway. And then forgot about it for years. Recently, I ...more
Arwen56
Aug 15, 2012 Arwen56 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romanzi, favorites
Avevo visto il film, tanti anni fa. La regia era di Hector Babenco e gli interpreti William Hurt, Raul Julia e Sonia Braga. Ne ero rimasta affascinata, sia per la trama sia per l’intensa recitazione.

Solo oggi ho letto il libro. E mi è piaciuto quanto la pellicola, se non di più.

Non mi è facile parlarne, poiché l’emozione nasce esclusivamente dagli impercettibili cambiamenti nel rapporto tra due uomini che sono reclusi in una cella, da cui escono solo per brevi attimi, scanditi e separati da una
...more
Antonio Nunez
Jul 12, 2013 Antonio Nunez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having watched the 1985 film starring William Hurt as Molina and Raul Julia as Valentin, I always intended to read the novel itself. Since this is the first Puig novel I've read I was astounded at how incredibly visual it is. The descriptions of faces, dresses, furniture, buildings and landscapes are so rich as to be almost unbearable. It did me make feel as if though I were partly blind, missing all these features that a writer like Puig conveys so well.

The story first: Molina (a gay middle age
...more
Stuart
Feb 25, 2013 Stuart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a modern masterpiece, and something everyone should read once. Puig's tale of sex and love, passion, betrayal, politics and oppression, is woven together from dialogue, dreams and footnotes, movie summaries and sharp, cutting images rendered in elegant prose that mimics the morphine hallucinations and fantasies that provide escape from the tortured lives led by the protagonists. The main characters, Valentine and Molina, are slowly defined by their reactions to the world and each ot ...more
Lily
Oct 06, 2015 Lily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So this book is about 2 inmates in Buenos Aires and they tell each other stories of films they have seen to pass time in the cell. One of the characters is gay. This was an unconventional book but the flow of the narrative made this book an amazing read. There is also a great twist at the end. It's brilliantly written and very original.
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Manuel Puig (born Juan Manuel Puig Delledonne) was an Argentinian author. Among his best known novels are La traición de Rita Hayworth (1968) (Betrayed by Rita Hayworth), Boquitas pintadas (1969) (Heartbreak Tango), and El beso de la mujer araña (1976) (Kiss of the Spider Woman), which was made into a film by the Argentine-Brazilian Director, Héctor Babenco and in 1993 into a Broadway musical.
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“The nicest thing about feeling happy is that you think you'll never be unhappy again.

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“Es que habría que saber aceptar las cosas como se dan, y apreciar lo bueno que te pase, aunque no dure. Porque nada es para siempre.” 21 likes
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