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Beauty Salon

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  938 Ratings  ·  90 Reviews
"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 l
Paperback, 63 pages
Published July 1st 2009 by City Lights Publishers (first published March 1999)
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Jul 02, 2013 s.penkevich rated it really liked it
Recommended to s.penkevich by: Mike Puma
The best thing was a quick death under the most comfortable circumstances

Everyone suffers and everyone must eventually die, the rich and poor alike. Yet, it is the poor, the discarded, those on the fringes of society—be it by choice or cast off for being deemed as an illness to society—that must suffer and die in pitiful conditions and solitude, often forgotten by those around them or ignored by the multitude of marching feet that pound the pavement just away beyond where they lie dying in a g
Mike Puma
Apr 08, 2013 Mike Puma rated it really liked it

Briefly: A weighty novella with images that will linger of a transvestite beautician whose beauty parlor transitions from its intended function of the enhancement of appearance to that of the Terminal (the only proper noun used in the novel)—a place where those who suffer from an incurable, fatal, unnamed disease come to die. The operator’s attempt to make his parlor more beautiful, more interesting by incorporating numerous aquariums full of colorful fish, foreshadows the inevitable in a tale t

Sep 30, 2009 brian rated it liked it
the mexican experimental novelist mario bellatin is missing an arm and wears a different array of prosthetics. check it:

as if 'mexican experimental novelist' wasn't enough, we get the neon-green chair, the bald somber mug, the if-captain-hook-was-flamboyantly-gay prosthetic, the black smock... UGH!!!

and this anecdote: bellatin once stood before an audience for a Q & A and when asked for his favorite writer he invented one on the spot: the japanese novelist Shiki Nagaoki. the audience proceed
Dec 18, 2013 Rafa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Todo un descubrimiento. Tengo que leer más de este autor.
Iván Sierra
Feb 27, 2013 Iván Sierra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cuánto ha logrado conmoverme este hermosísimo —aunque exento de florituras— texto de Bellatin, sobre todo en lo referente a la piedad desprovista de poses de santidad que profesa el narrador a los enfermos terminales: “Debo ser fiel a las razones originales que tuvo este Moridero. No a la manera de las Hermanas de la Caridad, que apenas se enteraron de nuestra existencia quisieron asistirnos con trabajo y oraciones piadosas. Aquí nadie está cumpliendo ningún tipo de sacerdocio. La labor que se h ...more
Nov 16, 2015 Caio rated it really liked it
Curious that the text should be published in continuous paragraphs, since Bellatin's narratives are so clearly paratactic. There should be generous page breaks, each paragraph a discrete block; it feels like a very different book, and much less interesting, if you don't give it this space to breathe.
Dec 05, 2014 Cosimo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Una buena historia pero no llenó mis expectativas.Pierde ritmo sin otros protagonistas,el asunto de los peces aburre y el final autocompasivo no me agradó mucho.Pudo ser mejor.
Sep 20, 2010 Alana rated it really liked it
Beauty Salon is a 63-page novella by the Mexican experimental novelist Mario Bellatin, a deeply unsettling account of a man watching others die in the midst of a unknown illness affecting a city, vision clouded by the murky waters of aquariums and self-isolation.

Rather than have a plot or any story arc, the novella simply exists as a snapshot of an existence: the narrator vaguely recounts (for it feels like there's hardly ever any direct statements of action where one thing leads to another, onl
City Lights Booksellers & Publishers
"In the Terminal, like the flashy fish that inhabit the aquariums, and the terminally ill that die around them, everything floats. There are no turns of the heart, or sudden twists. We drift through the inevitable. If poetry is making nothing happen, as Auden once said, than this novel shows that prose can as well." —Jesse Tangen-Mills, Bookslut

"Despite its brevity, Beauty Salon stands to linger in the aquariums of our memories, at times, like the monstrous axolotls, revealing the ugliness of th
Jim Coughenour
This tiny book, smaller even than the novels of Cesar Aira, takes 2 or 3 mad ideas and tosses them together: a transvestite who ran a beauty salon turns it into the Terminal – perhaps the saddest hospice ever – for young men dying of an incurable disease, and intermittently fusses over pet fish who are as unlucky as the patients. (Obviously the Terminal is another poisoned aquarium.) The book has the logic of a fever dream, flipping between fish and men and sex and solitude.
It's strange to see h
E. Chainey (Bookowski)
Kısaca yorum yapayım mı okumayı düşünenler için?
Bellatin'in Güzellik Salonu adlı bu novellasinda AIDS hastalığına yakalanmış eşcinsel erkeklerin ve travestilerin son dönemlerini geçirdikleri eskiden güzellik salonu olarak bir travesti tarafından işletilen sonrasında ise Ölüm Evine dönüşmüş bir salonda geçiyor olay. Baş kahraman ve anlatıci bir travesti. Saç kesimi ve salona aldığı türlü akvaryum ve balıklar ile iş yerinin sesini duyurmayi başarmış bir "öteki". Herşey bir anda olup bitiyor gibi
Joac Castro
May 04, 2015 Joac Castro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cuando veo las delicatessen y otro tipo de comidas finas por la televisión y más aún, cuando las pruebo, puedo diferenciar lo que me gusta de lo que es francamente, una obra de arte. Mi gusto, criado entre comidas y arte alejados del refinamiento, disfruta de cosas simples, directas, sabrosas y contundentes. Pero de la misma forma, cuando tengo una obra que merece las cinco estrellas, se las entrego, aunque no sea de mi total y absoluto gusto.
Y debe ser porque todavía no estoy capacitado para ve
Mar 22, 2013 Will rated it really liked it
A short, haunting, powerfully moving, beautifully written novella about an unnamed narrator/savior who turns his former beauty salon (where all the hairdressers were cross-dressing males beautifying primarily women) into a sort of hospice clinic for men dying of an unnamed plague (that looks and sounds a lot like AIDS), and he accepts only those men who are at the end of their lives with nowhere else to turn and no hope for recovery, and the beauty salon turns into a hospice where these dying me ...more
Sep 19, 2010 Jessica rated it it was ok
My book club read this spare and depressing novella and I have to say it's one of the more useless books I've ever read. At only 60 pages, I don't resent the time I spent reading it. But I just don't think it was fit well in any particulwr genre. Its not dystopian, like "Blindness" or "The Handmaid's Tale." And it's not allegorical, or, if it was even supposed to be an allegory, it was done well. Life as a fish tank? The beauty salon as heaven? As hell? The narrator as savior? As a devil? "Beaut ...more
Nov 17, 2012 Eric NYOB rated it liked it
Well ok. Just ok. Lots of hype around this one; in the end, not much here after all. Not a bad book, not a great book. At 63 pages not much of an investment either way. Somehow quite disturbing despite its hazy quality; the narrator's lack of affect suggests deep trauma outside the lines of the story (I guess six years of `making money' might do that), and the interest (s)he takes in watching everything around pass through its final stages is sad, quiet and unrecognized in the way evil often is. ...more
Nov 04, 2009 Cherie rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
C+ Interesting plot; a man turns his beauty salon into a hospice for AIDS patients; the focus often turns back to his fish, which, while he gets it initially for the entertainment of himself in between clients at his hair salon (which, before it was a hospice, only served men), he enjoys killing. The writing is more than the plot.
Gessy Alvarez
Nov 29, 2009 Gessy Alvarez rated it it was amazing
I read this on All Saints Day because it seemed like a fitting way to mark the occasion. The writing is sharp and unflinching. The first-person narrator is the voice of disillusionment and despair yet you never feel sorry for him. A beautiful fable about life and death...
Jordi Via
Aunque por momentos parece que estamos ante una distopía, se trata de una narración dedicada a las diferentes maneras de vivir o sentir la soledad, de sentirse solo ante la adversidad, ante la enfermedad, la muerte.
Evita Galindo-Doucette
Aug 29, 2012 Evita Galindo-Doucette rated it really liked it
Reminded me a lot of Cortazar's story about the axolotl. Some kind of strange symbiosis between the main character and the fish. It did not earn 5 stars because it was not an uplifting book. The main character was at times very unlikeable which was disturbing.
Mar 16, 2016 Doug rated it liked it
An unusual short novella (more like a long short story), this strange parable can be read in under an hour, but has a rather disquieting effect. Not quite sure what to make of it, but was worth reading.
Dec 23, 2009 Amy rated it liked it
As I was reading this, I kept thinking that it would be fabulous if staged as a one-man show, as it's an extended monologue. Seriously, this needs to happen; I'd love to see it.
Erin Tuzuner
Dec 23, 2015 Erin Tuzuner rated it really liked it
"Respect the loneliness to come." What a superb little lunchtime novella to get you properly dystopian.
Stefany Farias
Apr 25, 2015 Stefany Farias rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un relato rápido y profundo, vale cada una de sus letras, cada reflexión sobre la muerte, y esas -varias- perspectivas de la belleza.
Fatih Ztrk
Dec 01, 2015 Fatih Ztrk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Her türlü insanlık dışı davranış, zamanla insana dönüşür'
Oct 28, 2016 Gasto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un salón de belleza se transforma en Moridero (así, con mayúscula) donde hombres, y no mujeres, van a pasar sus últimos días de vida culpa de una enfermedad que los ataca. Allí dentro hay peceras. Muchas. Todas cuidadas y mantenidas por el protagonista. A través de esto se dibuja un ir y venir entre la vida de los peces comprendida desde lo humano y la vida del humano vista desde la del pez. Los animalitos más resistentes al cautiverio se desplazan, solos, como el narrador, y los otros, bonitos ...more
Joseph Downey
Nov 19, 2016 Joseph Downey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 17, 2017 Miguel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una prosa fluida, sin florituras, entretenida. Un lenguaje claro, simple. La historia engancha a la lector y da al lector un asomo al ambiente gay durante la expansión de la epidemia de VIH. Muy recomendable.
Esra Karadoğan
Bu kadar kısa bir romanın, böylesine sarsıcı olması... bir güzellik salonunun, ölüme çok yakın erkek hastalar için bir bakımevine dönüşmesi. Kesinlikle huzursuz edici bir roman.
Sebastian Palacios
Oct 15, 2016 Brandon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: latin-america
Una novela sumamente interesante. No estoy familiarizado con la obra de Bellatin, así que voy a leer más. Usualmente prefiero las novelas largas; pero ésta trataba de tantas problemas, de tantas concepciones difíciles, que estoy casi seguro que me gustarán sus otros cuentos.
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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 Hum ...more
More about Mario Bellatin...

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“Lo que sí no es ningún tipo de diversión es la cantidad cada vez mayor de personas que han venido a morir al salón de belleza. Ya no son solamente amigos en cuyos cuerpos el mal está avanzado, sino que la mayoría son extraños que no tiene dónde irse a morir.” 2 likes
“No sé dónde nos han enseñado que socorrer al desvalido equivale a apartarlo de las garras de la muerte a cualquier precio.” 1 likes
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