La virgen cabeza

La virgen cabeza

Novel | Eterna Cadencia, 2009 | 168 pages

Finalist, Silverio Cañada Memorial Prize, Gijón Detective Week


At the villa El Poso, the life of transvestite Cleopatra takes a 180-degree turn when one fine day the Virgin Mary appears to her. Moved, Cleopatra decides to give up prostitution and to try to make her home a better place. She preaches among her peers, performs miracles (or so she claims) and becomes a focus of attention for celebrities and high society.

Qüity, a journalist anxious to find a big, yet marginal, story, comes across Cleopatra’s peculiar deeds, and gains entry into El Poso into order to get to know her and do a groundbreaking feature.

Gabriela Cabezón masterfully steeps us in a world where drugs and marginality go hand in hand, and offers us a love story that is something completely different. Blending comedy with drama, social critique with entertainment, Cabezón Cámara’s first novel is a unique literary debut that has been acclaimed by critics and readers alike.

There are few novels in Argentine literature capable of constructing such a sordid, transgressing world as the one Gabriela Cabezón Cámara composes in La virgen cabeza. Here there is sex, there are drugs, there is cumbia, and there is the religiosity of the people, four axes upon which is constructed a story of love and violence, one with many elements of the detective story and the romance novel and  which holds up thanks to a narrative thrust that comes together with an esthetic where excess, mixing and hybridization predominate. Diego Gándara, Qué leer,Spain 

With an almost frenzied, overflowing register, but quick to read, between heartbreak and party…Its lively splendor can turn anything into a resource, can redefine what is wealth and what is beauty. Agustín ValleRolling Stone, Argentina

 A cumbia opera, a mixture of high and low, a mixture of working-class language, Góngora and Homer, Cabezón’s novel is this too. Patricia Kolesnicov, Clarín

One of the novels most suited to this social effervescence of language and one of the most beautiful and incisive, this too is La virgen cabeza…in which the new poetry does not lose consistency even in the postulate of a cumbia opera. Silvia Hopenhayn, La NaciónArgentina 

In this intense, impeccably written novel, replete with textures and diverse resources, the Argentine writer has succeeded in expressing the hidden epic character of so many anonymous lives, which far from the logic imposed by the powers that be, defies the established order with new forms of making a family, of living in society.  Paola Cortés Roca Revista Hispánica Moderna (Columbia University)

Published by:  Argentina Eterna Cadencia/ UK Charco Press/ Italy Edizioni Unicopli/ México Nitro Press
For other countries available