Estoico y frugal
Pedro Juan Gutiérrez

FICTION | 2019 | 184 pages

The vital and sexual adventures of a Cuban writer in Madrid and around Europe.

“For many years now my life had become a game of Russian roulette. Alcohol, women from whom I wanted only sex, smoking like a madman, complete chaos in my head and in my heart (…). Now at forty-eight, things were slowly starting to change. At least that’s how it seemed to me. I would live in Madrid for a few months. It was freezing. With Christmas 1998 was approaching quickly, my companions of choice were silence, a bottle of Jack Daniel’s (per day), a Bruce Springsteen cassette (The Ghost of Tom Joad) and some cigars I had brought from Cuba. And Carolina. (…) Ten years younger, with a  beautiful firm ass, one of those tough Madrid girls, from the streets, half crazy.”

So begins Estoico y frugal (Stoic and Frugal): Cuban author Pedro Juan does in fact arrive in Madrid in the middle of an icy winter, with one book published and a budding literary career underway, and it is there that he will experience nonstop vital and sexual adventures. After she disappears to London, Carolina is replaced by a mother and son who take him into their home filled with antique toys, a ring of mature women who are far from asexual, a sadomasochistic Belgian photographer who has a gay and voyeur lover, a young girl writing her thesis about Cuban literature…Later on, he will travel to Burgos, Benidorm, Germany, Italy, where his unique encounters continue: an old friend from the RDA, a photographer dedicated to capturing the Roman morgue….And in between these encounters, Pedro Juan must confront his future and decide whether he wants to be a famous and successful author or an invisible one.

In line with his vital, visceral, and sexual narrative, Pedro Juan Gutiérrez gives us a narration where truth oozes from every pore and where he explores memory (first hopes, first jerk-offs, first jobs away from home), creativity (a writer’s career, with all its pros and cons), and most of all the desire to live, to love, and to have sex as an escape from emptiness and death. Brutal, lubricious, and frenetic, the novel is relentless and gives readers no break: the Caribbean Bukowski tells us of his adventures in the old Europe.

RIGHTS: spanish ANAGRAMA I italian E/O l greek Metaichmio

In the brutality of his honesty, Mr. Gutiérrez reminds one of Jean Genet and Charles Bukowski. He takes us on an unforgettable journey into a world where politics, spiritual anomie and desire make their troubled accommodation.
— Richard Bernstein, The New York Times
As radical as Reinaldo Arenas and much more hurtful than Zoé Valdés… Impressive.
— Miguel García-Posada, El País
At the end, reading this novel proves to be addictive, aside from entertaining, and in an unsuspected and indefinable way, also sad. Sadness that is tied to a sarcasm that is completely innocent, without a hint of pedantry, vital, popular, and at the same time subtle.
— Nadal Suau, El Cultural
Life’s excess, endless nights, the havoc of searching for an antidote to stop the bleeding from the anguish of daily life on the streets. And all told feverishly, with the despair of one who’s drowning. Pedro Juan Gutiérrez is a diviner who searches for the day’s alchemy in the remains of the day before.
— Manuel Llorente, El Mundo
A longtime resident of Madrid, Gutiérrez makes use of his own personal experience to construct a reflection with his stylistic proposal: his vibrant and physical realism that tends toward the dirty appeals to his own life in a book that stands like an odd siren call, like a celebration that is as abundant as it is tight.
— Zenda Libros

BY PEDRO JUAN GUTIÉRREZ: Diálogo con mi sombra MEMOIR, 2017 Fabián y el caos NOVEL, 2015 Corazón mestizo NOVEL, 2007 El nido de la serpiente NOVEL, 2006 Nuestro GG en La Habana NOVEL, 2004 Carne de perro NOVEL, 2003 El insaciable hombre araña NOVEL, 2002 Animal tropical NOVEL, 2000 Melancolía de los leones STORIES, 2000 El rey de La Habana NOVEL, 1999 Trilogía sucia de La Habana NOVEL, 1998