Beauty Is Convulsive is a biographical meditation on one of the twentieth century's most compelling and famous artists, Frida Kahlo (1907-1954). At the age of nineteen, Kahlo's life was transformed when the bus in which she was riding was hit by a trolley car. Pierced by a steel handrail and broken in many places, she entered a long period of convalescence during which she began to paint self-portraits. In 1928, at twenty-one, she joined the Communist Party and came to know Diego Rivera. The forty-one-year-old Rivera, Mexico's most famous painter, was impressed by the force of Kahlo's personality and by the authenticity of her art, and the two soon married. Though they were devoted to each other, intermittent affairs on both sides, Frida's grief over her inability to bear a child, and her frequent illnesses made the marriage tumultuous. This prose poem is typical Maso vigorous, daring, always original. She brings together parts of Kahlo's biography, her letters, medical documents, and her diaries with language that is often as erotic and colorful as Kahlo's paintings.
Author Biography: Carole Maso is the author of six novels: Ghost Dance, The Art Lover, AVA, Aureole, The American Woman in the Chinese Hat, and Defiance. The recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship for fiction, she is Professor of English at Brown University, and lives in Germantown, New York.