La amante de Gardel
Mayra Santos-Febres

NOVEL | 2015 | 120 pages

On June 24th, 1935, when he was at the pinnacle of his career, the mythical tango singer Carlos Gardel, died in an airplane crash in Colombia. In the days leading up to that fateful crash, Gardel was in Puerto Rico giving a series of concerts. In La amante de Gardel, Mayra Santos-Febres sets to imagine the last days of “El Zorzal”—days he spent in the arms of Micaela Thorné a young black girl from the island. The two meet when Micaela, a nursing school student but also the granddaughter of the town’s old curandera, accompanies her grandmother on a very important house call: one the eve of his first performance on the island, Gardel has fallen ill and they are to help save him. As Micaela struggles to make sense the traditional teachings of her grandmother and the medical lessons received at school, she embarks on a luscious, torrid love affair that will forever change the course of her life.


An electrifying prose stylist
— Paul Russell, author of The Coming Storm
Santos-Febres seems to write with hot oils, and the page glistens.
— Harvard Review
What Puig did to transform the way we think of American film, Santos-Febres
has managed for Latin music.
— Laura Esquivel