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Sirena Selena vestida de pena

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  490 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Discovered by Martha Divine in the backstreets of San Juan, picking over garbage, drugged out of his mind and singing boleros that transfix the listener, a fifteen year old hustler is transformed into Sirena Selena, a diva whose uncanny beauty and irrisistable voice will be their ticket to fame and fortune. Auditioning for one of the luxury hotels in the Dominican Republic ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 1st 2001 by St. Martins Press-3PL (first published January 1st 2000)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  490 ratings  ·  46 reviews


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Alexis Ayala
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No se pierdan esta joyita, lectores. De verdad, es un canto de sirena.
Cristhian
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
(Ésta va en español)

¿Saben cómo, dentro del imaginario colectivo gay, muchos de nosotros tenemos la imagen de RuPaul como LA drag queen? En parte, claro está, por la fama mundial que ha alcanzado debido al reality que gira en torno de la búsqueda de nuevas reinas en Estados Unidos. Ciertamente, esa percepción de la cultura drag en un entorno latinoamericano se queda muy corta puesto que muchas veces tendemos a idealizar el producto extranjero y menospreciar el producto nacional/regional.

En este
...more
Billy
Un des plus beaux romans sur la thématique du travestisme et LGBT que j'ai lu ! Un lyrisme d'une beauté toute simple mais tres touchant . Beaucoup de narrateurs mais on s'y retrouve bien . Sublime! ...more
Priscilla (Bookie Charm)
2.5 star*

This book had so much potential but didn’t hit the mark for me. I read the English translation and the prose were poetic at times but awkward at others. The multiple POV paired with a nonlinear timeline complicated the narrative and it was not easy to follow. I also struggled with differentiating the characters because they all have very similar voices.

What this book does well is discuss the intersection of race, sexuality, and trans identity in Puerto Rico although most of this book t
...more
Dusty
Feb 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
Puerto Rico: not exactly the United States, not exactly independent. Transvestites: not exactly male, not exactly female. Or at least that's how it works in Maya Santos-Febres's outstanding debut novel, Sirena Selena, in which the two properties (Puerto Rico and transvestites) become metaphors for each other.

The book is sublimely fulfilling on a number of levels -- as an allegory (the Caribbean as an object of male American/European desire), as an "inside critique" of the dominant literary aesth
...more
Edgar  Rios Salgado
Siempre descripciones excelente, historia que cala los huesos, pero... ¿Ese final?
nie
Sep 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
Un roman sur les drag-queen à Porto Rico, qui traite surtout de pédophilie honnêtement.
Les chapitres sont entrecoupés de discours, monologues de personnages inclus ou non dans l’histoire que j’ai trouvé assez intéressant car ils enrichissaient la narration. Par contre c’est justement du côté de l’histoire en elle-même que j’ai trouvé ça faible : c’est beaucoup trop long à se mettre en place pour une situation extrêmement plate et sans surprise. L’alternance du style (factuel, lyrique, poétique a
...more
Dan HdezSa
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
La noche siempre me ha fascinado por ser el refugio de tantas identidades que viven al margen. Deseo que pronto también nos adueñemos del sol, pero mientras eso sucede, seguiremos sacándole brillo y fuego a la luna.
Sharon Velez Diodonet
"We all wanted to be something else, to be somewhere else... The thing was always about denying our miserable reality, to disguise it with...glitter. or, better still, to invent a new past, dress ourselves up to the hilt, head out, and be someone new, among the spotlights and the dry ice, mirrors and strings of lights, to start out fresh, newly born".

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
Discovered by Martha Divine in the backstreets of San Juan, picking over garbage, drugged out of his mind and singing bo
...more
Ivy-Mabel Fling
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An excellent story about poverty and exploitation - very unusual and worth reading.
Ashley Flores Ramos
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Siguiendo con "nuevas lecturas" estos días estuve leyendo "Sirena Selena, vestida de pena" desde que lo vi en la FILMTY2017 me entró una enorme curiosidad por hacerme de el, este libro nos cuenta como cambia la vida de un chico de 15 años desde que es descubierto por una drag queen, La Martha Divine (mi personaje favorito), su próxima oportunidad de salir de República Dominicana para ir a probar suerte a Puerto Rico y las aventuras que pasan por ahí. La novela en si es un poco cruda, me gustaría ...more
Carlos Bexlier
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sirena Selena vestida de pena nos cuenta la historia de un chico que vivió una vida muy dura, al leer el libro nos daremos cuenta de ello, pero la historia comienza con Martha Divine; la famosa drag queen que recogió a ese chico y al que convirtió en Sirena Selena para poder trabajar y generar ingresos.

Cuando comienza la novela te plantea el hecho que Martha y Sirena se suben a una avión porque van rumbo a otro país a cerrar un negocio para expandir el show de Sirena Selena a un hotel, esto ayud
...more
Milagro
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Tardé muchísimo en terminarlo, a la narración la sentía lenta y un poco sufrible, sin embargo conforme avancé agarré el ritmo y me adapté.
Seré sincera, no la disfruté del todo, el tema se me hace algo genial pero hay algo que no me agradó, no sé si era por la forma narrada (capítulos cortos) o por el ritmo. Difiero en eso.

Me pareció importante el personaje de Selena, es desgarrador ver su vida e imposible que no se te haga un nudo en la garganta, lo qué cuenta Mayra Santos-Febres es REAL, hay g
...more
Carlo Bugni
Ti amerò, Selena, come ho sempre desiderato amare una donna

L’incipit e i continui riferimenti pop (oltre che l’argomento) mi hanno felicemente ricordato Myra Breckinridge di Vidal. Qui, una drag queen cerca il suo riscatto, in maniera più realistica e meno dissacrante rispetto a Myra, probabilmente commuovendo di più.
I Caraibi raccontati con sfarzo e lustrini, ma senza la solarità stereotipata di Hollywood e dintorni: la vita di drag, travestiti e transessuali, tra spettacoli, prostituzione
...more
Virgowriter (Brad Windhauser)
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Engaging read that—prompted by a cover blurb—echoes of Like Water for Chocolate. Engaging protagonists, especially one that takes control of their life (as opposed to being a victim. Selena reads as a trans character through most of this, a read
Supported by pronoun use. But this changes, sort of, to suggests Selena is the drag persona of a gay man. This doesn’t hamper the read, but did obscure how I understood the character. Hugo is also an interesting minor character. His wife Solange’s bigotry
...more
Lisa (LiteraryLatinax)
DNF! I was so eager to get this book and once I did I had to stop at page 33. I don't like DNFing books but I just did not like the writing on this one. You have multiple POVs, it jumps around quite a bit where anytime a person's name is mentioned we get their story many which are irrelevant in my opinion. Most of the time I spent my time saying "what?" or rereading because I was confused. Unfortunately this was a no for me. ...more
Maryori Sabalza
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alberto Glez
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Es uno de los libros mejor escritos que he leído. La historia es buena, no esperaba para nada que fuera así, pero el estilo en que está escrito es magistral. Cada capítulo tiene algo que lo hace especial, y no me refiero a la historia (aunque también), sino a los recursos que utiliza la autora para narrarla.
En verdad es uno de los mejores libros que he leído en mucho tiempo.
Oliver Lavalle Ortega
Increible historia, Mayra es una de mis favoritas.

Me considero extremadamente fan de Mayra Santos, para mí una autora maravillosa, un libro de un realismo mágico increíble. Me encantó la historia la manera de narrativa, el desarrollo de una novela de un personaje increíble.
Ivy Koberlein
Jul 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Difficult read with countless confusing and underdeveloped themes. That said, the book does fill a void in Latino literature for the lgbtq+ population and does shed light on the child sex trade in the Caribbean.
zoë
Oct 29, 2019 rated it liked it
read for class
Sierra
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly lyrical, beautiful prose, with some stunning formal choices and a good dose of historical awareness.
Giovanni Gregory
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Buenos momentos.
Charlotte
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Extraordinaire. L'histoire, les styles successifs, les personnages, tout est travaillé à l'extrême pour paraître fluide, naturel... impossible de résister à ce livre. ...more
GABRIELA SOFIA
Le daría un 3.5/5 por el simple hecho de que a veces me perdía en la lectura, por los brincos que da en las historias y porque esperaba mucho más del final. Por lo demás, es muy buen libro.
Eduardo Santiago
Feb 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: woc
I so wanted to like this book.

The situations felt intensely real. The places, the language, yes, mostly. The characters, alas, were hollow and lifeless. I’m going to hate myself in the morning for saying this but the parallel is too eerie to ignore: the book I stopped reading to read this one is Feet of Clay, in which golems figure prominently, and I found myself musing that Sir Terry’s soulless speechless automatons have more emotional depth, more complex desires and whims and conflicts than ar
...more
Chelsea Mcgill
Jul 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Miss Martha Divine, an old veteran of the Drag Queen scene in New York and Puerto Rico, has found her ticket to glory: a 15-year-old with a voice like an angel, who takes on the artist name of Sirena Selena. Miss Martha takes her young protege to the neighboring Dominican Republic, in an attempt to sell the act to one of the fancy tourist hotels there - where they won't mind that the performer is underage.

After seeing Sirena Selena's audition, one very wealthy businessman, Hugo Graubel, is capti
...more
MC
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sirena Selena by Mayra Santos-Febres is about an ambitious Puerto Rican drag queen named Martha Divine and her young protege, Sirena Selena. They head to the Dominican Republic hoping to capitalize on Sirena’s captivating voice by performing boleros live when she captures the fascination of a local, wealthy businessman.

Written more than 17 years ago, this book predates progressive gender movements like Latinx, #Ownvoices and the popularity of RuPaul’s Drag Race – which could explain some of the
...more
Melvin Rodríguez-Rodríguez
Una novela poética sobre los terrenos movedizos del Caribe y la sexualidad, narrada con catarsis y humor.

Sirena Selena es menor de edad, pobre y gay, pero tiene una voz prodigiosa para cantar boleros que captura la atención de Martha Divine, una mujer trans veterana en el arte de sobrevivir. Martha se lleva a Sirena a la República Dominicana con la intención de hacerla famosa y desde ahí la novela se convierte en un laberinto de historias sobre la marginalidad. La novela explora las diversas ram
...more
Luzadriana Nuñez
Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
El travestismo es una metáfora de los personajes y máscaras que nos inventamos a diario por temor al rechazo. El temor creciente día con día, de estar solo y enfrentarse como individuo a la masa, nos vuelve hostiles y brujeriles, utilizando los encantos que tengamos a nuestro alcance para ejercer la coacción a nuestro favor y sobrevivir (pero sobre todo ganar) en la salvaje y desasosegadora (pos) modernidad.
La sirena que engaña con su canto por las noches aprovecha las ventajas de la oscuridad y
...more
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Puerto Rican novelist, poet, and critic. Winner of the Juan Rulfo Award (1996), Santos-Febres holds an M.A. and Ph.D. (1991) from Cornell University.
She currently teaches at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus.

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