Kiss of the Spider Woman

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Based on Manuel Puig's novel, director Hector Babenco's movie deftly handles delicate material in the first independent film to get an Oscar® nod for best picture. William Hurt earned a best actor win for his affecting portrayal of Molina, the gaudily gay cellmate of tortured political prisoner Valentin (Raul Julia), whom he placates with movie stories. Subtitled trivia in lieu of audio commentary fascinates with production tidbits. For all collections. Includes the documentary Tangled Web: Making of Kiss of the Spider Woman.

—Jeff T. Dick
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679724490
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/28/1991
  • Series: Vintage International Series
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 385,576
  • Product dimensions: 5.16 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 7, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig, Translated by Thomas Co

    Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig, Translated by Thomas Colchie

    Luis Alberto Molina is a homosexual who's been sent to prison for corrupting minors. Valentín Arregui Paz is a dangerous revolutionary. They have been paired together by the prison warden in an attempt to get information of the revolution in the Argentina of the 1970's. In exchange for Molina's cooperation, he will be granted a pardon.

    To gain Valentín's affection, Molina starts narrating movies that he remembers seeing. There's a WWII movie of a chanteuse, Leni, and her German officer lover. There's a movie of a Le Mans racer in Monte Carlo and his rich father. There's a movie about Zombies in a remote island. And finally a movie about a singer and a journalist who fall in love in Veracruz.

    As Molina tells these movies, he gains the affection of Valentín. Molina falls in love and has sex with Valentín, so he can't finish the mission he's given. Instead, Molina agrees to deliver a message to Molina's revolutionaries.

    Molina is paroled anyway and followed by the police because of the message that was given. As Molina is giving the message, he's shot to death by the revolutionaries because they fear he will talk.

    The book is written as a movie script. It's all in dialogue form. There are no points of view. Unlike the movie, it's very difficult to follow the dialogue because the book does not designate who's doing the talking. The movies told by Molina are fun, but they tend to minimize the relationship between Molina and Valentín.

    I loved the movie and was disappointed by the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2007

    A reviewer

    Manuel Puig's 'Kiss of the Spider Woman' is an unconventional novel in just about every way. It's refreshing to read a novel that emphasizes character development over action. It's also refreshing to read a novel that's brave enough to explore provocative issues, most notably the complex nature of human sexuality. This is a brave story with a universal theme: hope. I quickly fell in love with the two protagonists, Molina and Valentin, as they come to develop a deep and personal bond while in prison. Puig is a gifted writer with a great insight into the human soul. Highly recommended!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2003


    The book was absolutely brilliant. At first it's not very appealing, Puig goes on too much about the homophobia the straight character felt towards the gay man, but as the book progresses you end up understanding the whole psychological message that the author is trying to get through. I highly recommend it if you're willing to have an open mind about it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2000


    I really loved this book. It is an unconventional love story between two men in an Argentinian prison. The friendship/love between Molina and Valentin is mesmerizing and wonderful.

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    Posted October 10, 2009

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    Posted September 29, 2010

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    Posted September 25, 2011

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    Posted November 1, 2008

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