Petals and other awkward stories
Pétalos y otras historias incómodas
As if seen by X-ray, the characters that populate this book show us things that human beings normally prefer to keep hidden. Each one of these stories brings to light a strange and different model of insanity, an unconfessable excentricity that motivates someone’s existence: a Parisian photographer who is only interested in the blink of an eye, a Japanese office worker who discovers a rare affinity for cacti, a model who has hidden a strange twitch since childhood, a girl who tries, in her own way, to cheat death, a smeller of ladies’ lavatories ... With an ironic style full of mock naivety, the author introduces us into the lives of men and women who, behind their apparent normalcy, actually form part of that ample army of outsiders. This book promotes the idea that real beauty can be seen in those places that are difficult to look at.
Awarded with the Gilberto Owen Prize in Mexico, the Antonin Artaud and the Ann Seghers.
"The author’s direct and balanced prose in these six awkward stories manage to fill us with a singular restlessness when we get to know the characters that inhabit them, as the stories speak of that other person we also are and that we hide from the others. Furthermore, they speak of certain manias, obsessions and even the disorders that we might suffer… As readers we remain alert—these stories chase and catch us." —María José Obiol, Babelia, El País
“These “stories”, as she calls them, written with great simplicity and ease, go from evocation to identity. From description to intimacy. The way Nettel looks at madness—both soft and destructive—at mania and at deviance is so acute that it takes us back to our own obsessions. Paradoxically, the stranger the stories, the closer they seem to be.” —Xavier Houssin, Le Monde
“Mexican author Guadaupe Nettel consolidates herself with this collection of disturbing stories about dangerous relationships, encounters and disencounters marked by solitude and isolation." —J. A. Masoliver Ródenas, La Vanguardia
"Nettel imposes her serene and sober narration over the harshness of the stories. Her courage comes from the way she brings the camera in closer and talks about what many leave in the shadows." —El Mundo
“Even though they are written in a classical style, these stories pursue a somewhat unhealthy objective: to disturb." —Rafael Lemus, Letras Libres
“One must have a lot of talent and aesthetical courage (and ethical courage, as they always go together) to warp a book so challenging under the rules of fiction." —J. Ernesto Ayala-Dip, Qué Leer
"Strange stories that are as disturbing as they are luminous, by one the most important voices in Mexican literature." —Juan Pablo Bertazza, Radar Libros
"Six stories of difficult love, six stories presided by ambiguity and mystery, by strangeness as a means to approach romantic relationships, or, at least, human relationships. Each plot is an eccentricity, an unusual episode, a sinuous path that introduces us into the most disturbing aspects of the human mind." —Arturo Gardía Ramos, ABC
"A fine scrutinizer of the intimate world in all its contradictions, its most surprising and unspeakable details, Nettel is unrivaled when it comes to exasperating tensions…There lies the strength of this collection that sparkles with charm. Like an upside down fairy tale.” —Thierry Clermont, Le Figaro
Culturas, La Vanguardia
Radar Libros, Página/12 (Argentina)
El Cultural, El Mundo
Babelia, El País
La Nación (Argentina)
TRANSLATION RIGHTS SALES
- France (Actes Sud)
- Czech Republic (Volvox Globator)
- Slovenia (Lud Literatura)
- Turkey (Monokl)
- USA (Seven Stories)
- Italy (La Nuova Frontiera)
Guadalupe Nettel was born in Mexico in 1973 and grew up between Mexico and France. She obtained a PhD in linguistics from the EHESS in Paris. She is the author of the international award winning novels El huésped (2006), The body Where I was Born (2011), After the Winter (2014, Herralde Novel Prize) and Still Born (2020, finalist for the 2023 International Booker Prize). She has also published three collections of short stories: Les jours fossils (2002), Pétalos y otras historias incómodas (2008), Natural Histories (2013, Ribera del Duero Prize) and Los divagantes (2023). In 2008 she was named by the Hay Festival as one of the more promising Latin American authors.
Her work has been translated into more than seventeen languages and has appeared in publications such as Granta, The White Review, El País, The New York Times in Spanish,La Repubblica and La Stampa, among many others. She currently lives in Mexico City where she’s the director of the magazine Revista de la Universidad de México.