Beauty Salon
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Beauty Salon

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  475 ratings  ·  44 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...more
Paperback, 63 pages
Published July 1st 2009 by City Lights Publishers (first published March 1st 1999)
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Jul 02, 2013 s.penkevich rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
Mike Puma

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

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...more
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...more
Todo un descubrimiento. Tengo que leer más de este autor.
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...more
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
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
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
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
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...
Evita Galindo-Doucette
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.
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.
As disturbing as he is memorable, the narrator in Mario Bellatin's Beauty Salon slowly reveals the depths of his own neurosis -- and the strange poignancy of his shocking theories of death and the role of hospice care.

The Terminal is a former beauty salon converted into a receptacle for men withered by a mysterious plague. Women are forbidden, as are men who have not yet progressed to the disease's final stages. There is no hope in the Terminal, no thought that anything other than death will com...more
This is very disturbing novel. It is slim and I thought I could rad it fast during one trip. However, that wasn't the case. It's bleak and uncompromising in its harshness. From time to time it reminds of "Blindness" by Jose Saramago.

The main character is transvestite who transformed his Beauty Salon into "Terminal", place where people come to die. He describes his life prior epidemic and how they (he and his two friends) were going to cruise the streets of unnamed cities (descriptions are not to...more
City Lights
"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...more
Some kind of plague is running through an unnamed city. The transvestite owner of a beauty salon has transformed her business into The Terminal, where she takes in men (and only men) who are close to death (and only those; if you look like you have too much life in you yet, she sends you away until you're closer to the end). She used to have several tanks of brightly-colored, exotic fish as decor; she's down to a handful of hearty guppies in a cloudy tank.

There's no character arc here, no big m...more
Mario Bellatin's short book is not bleak yet the narrative and language has a stark quality with the image of the beauty salon housing dying individuals in some sort of plague that took place. Also there are various water tanks full of fish that surrounds this last resort of the barely living.

A nameless plague has hit the town, and the image is striking, but it is also one that doesn't really grab me. The aesthetics of death is a subjective viewpoint - and this is one book that deals in that as...more
Peera Songkünnatham
The narrative was very engaging, deserves a cult following. The narrator's monologue's too freaky for me, made me sad and rotten on the inside.
Nerea Serrano
Mientras leía cada una de las páginas, me recorría por el cuerpo un escalofrío y el sentimiento de angustia y compasión entremezclado...
I was able to finish this novella in one sitting despite my grinding work schedule. Mexican writer Mario Bellatin narrates this story about a transvestite who has transformed his beauty salon into a space that, rather than being a hospital, is destined exclusively for terminally-ill agonizing lodgers infected by the strange plague to die in it. Written in lucid prose, this story is counterpointed with the narrator's collection of aquariums containing an eccentric list of fish. Reminiscent of pos...more
Daniel Silveyra
Este libro está en alguna parte entre cuento y "novella/novelette". Es decir: está cortito.

La prosa está bien - es relativamente seca, no estilizada (a diferencia de Rulfo o Cortázar, por ejemplo). El tono es totalmente apropiado al narrador.

Realmente, "Salón de Belleza" no tiene nada de malo. Quizás tenga muchas cosas buenas - simbolismos profundos y demás - que requieran una lectura más cuidadosa que la que yo le dí.

De cualquier manera, lo disfruté tal como fue. Leería algo más de Bellatin nad...more
Iván Sierra
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
A bizarre short book/novella. Almost completely devoid of setting detail except for a beauty salon stripped of it's typical accoutrements and filled with fish tanks and turned into a hospice for people dying of a plague.

The story of the beauty salon and its inhabitants is told monologue-style by the sometimes transvestite who runs the place. Poetic and disturbingly interesting, I wonder what it is like in the original Spanish.

"'s also true that the behavior of fish has no relation to that o...more
Sergio Arroyo
Más que una voz que cuenta una historia o una serie de acciones hilvanadas de forma que parezcan una historia coherente y sólida, Salón de belleza es un goteo de sangre constante, sobre una piedra, hasta que produce un agujero que ya no se puede ocultar. ¿El Sida? Cualquier interpretación alegórica es innecesaria y empobrece la obra literaria, que es eminentemente un trabajo de sintaxis arrasador y solo aparentemente espontáneo, como sucede con la gran literatura.
Read in one sitting, I enjoyed the lyrical style in which this novella was written. I particularly liked the sudden transition from talking about the fish tanks to talking about the sorrowfully wretched patients. I wanted to give this book four stars, but I despised the narrator (because of his dispassionate treatment of both his fish and his patients) so much that it affected my reading and I settled on three because of the beautiful flow.
Roy Kesey
A heartbreaking and beautifully structured novella. Stronger and stronger throughout.

A favored bit:

"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."
A very short novella - a tone-poem, really - in which exotic fish and people die, ministered to by a hairdresser in a beauty salon that has become a hospice. An expiring breath of a book which pinpoints beautifully the emotional locus of the dark days of the gay AIDS crisis.
Este estremecedor relato sobre la enfermedad, el rechazo, la homosexualidad y la desesperanza llega a ser repugnante y melancólico al mismo tiempo. Vale mucho la pena para reflexionar sobre la vida, la muerte y lo que es un tabú.
Mari Anne
A very haunting but strange novella about a man who transforms his beauty salon into a home for men dying of AIDS. Not sure if I liked it or not. The ending was a"non" ending and left the reader hanging.
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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...
Flores Damas chinas El jardín de la señora Murakami Perros héroes: Tratado sobre el futuro de América Latina visto a través de un hombre inmóvil y sus treinta Pastor Belga Malinois Lecciones para una liebre muerta

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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.” 1 likes
“No sé dónde nos han enseñado que socorrer al desvalido equivale a apartarlo de las garras de la muerte a cualquier precio.” 0 likes
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