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El beso de la mujer araña

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  6,155 ratings  ·  336 reviews
Los dos personajes de esta novela han caído presos durante la dictadura militar en Argentina, y ahora comparten la misma celda. En medio de la más absoluta soledad, ambos personajes platican largamente sobre sus propias vidas; uno de ellos, un activista político que no deja de imaginar un futuro mejor, el otro un homosexual que recuerda con melancolía momentos de su vida. ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published February 28th 2005 by Random House Mondadori (first published 1976)
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MkB
-- 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
Fabian
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
Teresa
"-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 2 of 5 stars  ·  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
Lacolz
—¿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
brian
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
Jamie
Feb 21, 2009 Jamie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
Arwen56
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
Tony
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
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
Nicola
I loathed it.
We did this as a book club read and the description did not inspire me in the slightest.
The style and story left me cold.
I found the translation from Spanish to English added to the stunted feel of the book.
I enjoy to read different books and styles, and the footnotes detract further from the story.
I did feel a sense of satisfaction that I made it to the end but ultimately felt I'd wasted hours of my life I would never get back
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.
Wendy
The feels -- all of them!!

spider woman dilemma


This is one of the weirder novels I've tackled this year -- I had actually put this one off for a while because it seemed like a daunting read -- and turned out to be one of my favorites, what with the dissonant clashing of grit and (literal) Hollywood romance. The setting in an Argentinian prison is unusual, as are the characters, prison-mates who I couldn't help but picture as Peter Lorre and James Dean (umm...yeah, I'll just leave you to match them up). There's also
...more
Karla
El libro me fue asignado para una clase de literatura que se enfoca en América Latina. Sin embargo, he de confesar que desde las primeras páginas este libro no fue un deber académico sino un auténtico placer, ese que es provocado por el libro adecuado en el momento adecuado.

Siendo esta novela la primera que leo del autor, aunado a su peculiar narrativa (o mejor dicho, falta de ésta)que se centra en los diálogos de los personajes, he de confesar que esta novela me impresionó desde las primeras pá
...more
Antonio Nunez
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
Abeer Hoque
KotS-W is a conversation between two inmates, a gay window dresser and a revolutionary. I was biased from the beginning, but against the blurb writer. The window dresser is described on the back of the book as self centred but charming, but in no way does he come across as self centred, unless you pick on something late in the book (which would be a spoiler so I won't mention it more explicitly), but even that wouldn't be considered self centred IMHO (he was really a lovely man). The revolutiona ...more
Taka
A mix of Auster, Gaddis, and DFW--

The main story between two cellmates, one gay, the other straight, how their relationship evolves is engrossing. And many of the films Molina, the gay character, tells his cellmate are also interesting, though it takes some getting used to as it keeps breaking up the narrative in the beginning. I do, however, have reservations about the footnotes, which consist of dry/dull (though rather clear) academic disquisition on homosexuality. Though they do help illumina
...more
Pete
Kiss of the Spider Woman does not have a traditional narrator. 9/10 of the book is strictly dialogue, with the shifts in speaker being demarcated only by a dash. It's easy enough to keep track of who is speaking because most of the dialogue is between two men sitting in a prison cell. What do they talk about? Well, do you know anyone that likes to go on 20-30 minute descriptive rants about a movie that you have not seen and never want to see? If you like that, then this is the book to you. It ha ...more
Vienna X
I finally got around to this after it had been on my "to-read" list for so long, recommended by several people. Unfortunately, I didn't see what they saw and, despite some good parts, overall I didn't like the book. I was curious to see how an all-dialog novel would work. I think it can be done successfully (I enjoyed Nicholson Baker's Vox), but for me, Spider Woman fell short. So much of the book is spent with one of the characters summarizing various films he's seen. I had a really hard time c ...more
Bucket
o.k. this book was very good. also from what i remember many years ago a decent movie? (as much as anything involving william hurt can be).the problem: i took serious issue with the many oddly placed notes throughout the story. one of the main characters in this story is queer and there are all these notes at the bottom of the page going into freud's and other fucked up western psychologists' theories about homosexuality as a pathology. if the question of whether those notes were in the original ...more
Stuart
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
Kai Coates
Many times, when I read a book with lots of post-modern "tricks", the writing method becomes the main focus and the story becomes secondary. Kiss of the Spider Woman is successful because this did not happen, despite Manuel Puig's experimental approach. The novel is a combination of dialogue similar to a play, official government documents, psychological footnotes on homosexuality, and drug-induced dreams. There is not central narrative voice which ties these different parts together, yet the bo ...more
Maryse
I don't really have a copy of this book in my library, but I've read my roomate's copy. I wish I had one, though. This is an extraordinary book. The main characters are 2 prisoners sharing a cell. One of them is a political prisoner, the other a gay cellmate. Everything is told in dialogue, as if you were listening to their conversation in the darkness, and you're not certain who is speaking. The gay prisoner (I forget his name) shares synopsis of the movies his seen, and this adds to the beauty ...more
A-ron
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
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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.
More about Manuel Puig...
Boquitas pintadas Betrayed by Rita Hayworth The Buenos Aires Affair Eternal Curse on the Reader of These Pages Pubis angelical

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