Luis Negrón’s debut collection reveals the intimate world of a small community in Puerto Rico joined together by its transgressive sexuality. The writing straddles the shifting line between pure, unadorned storytelling and satire, exploring the sometimes hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking nature of survival in a decidedly cruel world.
Slender but never slight, and often extremely funny, the nine stories in this debut collection offer insight into both gay life in Puerto Rico and the human condition in general. "The Chosen One" deals with the intermixing of religion and sexuality. In "The Vampire of Moca," a man rents an apartment at a large discount to a man he's attracted to, but is disappointed in the resulting situation. "For Guayama" details the obsessive quest to deal with the passing of a beloved pet. "La Edwin" reaches the conclusion, with far more delight than resignation, that "the world has been the world for a long time," and it is this ratio of delight to resignation that sets the tone of the book. The title story contains the narrator's realization of his place in the world. In "So Many," two mothers, "worried extremely worried" about neighborhood boys being gay, exchange gossip. The excellent "Botella" packs an entertaining noir novel into the space of a few pages; it will make you think about bleach in ways you may never have before. In the end, the reader should be left both completely satisfied and wanting more.