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Manuel Puig: Traición de Rita Hayworth (Betrayed by Rita Hayworth)

This was Puig’s first novel and is semi-autobiographical. His interest in the cinema is apparent even in the title. It tells the story of a small provincial town in the 30s and 40s, particularly through the story of Toto Casals, an intelligent young man surrounded by mediocrities. It is not the first novel to tell the story of a young man who does not fit into the society into which he happens to be born but it is still well written. As in his later novels, Puig uses a variety of styles but, in particular, he writes the novel cinematically, with close-ups, one-sided conversations and even soft focus. This novel propelled Puig to the front rank of Latin American novelists and created a style and themes (cinema and homosexuality in particular) for which he became world-famous.

Publishing history

First published in Spanish by Editorial J. Alvarez 1968
First published in English by Dutton 1971
Translated by Suzanne Jill Levine