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Library JournalArguably the most famous novel by 2009 Guggenheim fellow Santos Febres, this is the story of Sirena ("mermaid") Selena, a teenage Puerto Rican transvestite with an enchanting voice and a complicated past, who flies to the Dominican Republic with his/her manager, Martha Divine, an older and wiser crossdresser, in an attempt to find success as a hotel singer. Using first and third person narrators, the author explores the emotional, mental, and physical challenges of male sexuality and its transformations within the context of a traditional, superstitious, and classist Caribbean society. Mimicking the nostalgic and tragic aura of the boleros (the kind of songs that Serena learned from her grandma), the language is lyrical and melodic, with tints of humor. The time line of events is sometimes confusing, but the author does a great job of unfolding a story of ambitions and lack of opportunities, mixing flashbacks from Serena's life in the streets, Martha Divine's standup routine, and stories about the characters that work at the hotel. Recommended for public libraries with a Spanishlanguage Caribbean literature or LGBT collection.—Angela Lang, New York, NY
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