Gabriela Alemán, based in Quito, Ecuador, has played professional basketball in Switzerland and Paraguay and has worked as a waitress, administrator, translator, radio scriptwriter, and film studies professor. She received a PhD at Tulane University and holds a Master's degree in Latin American Literature from Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar. Her literary honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006; member of Bogotá 39, a 2007 selection of the most important up-and-coming writers in Latin America in the post-Boom generation; one of five finalists for the 2015 Premio Hispanoamericano de Cuento Gabriel García Márquez (Colombia) for her story collection La muerte silba un blues; and winner of several prizes for critical essays on literature and film. Her other books include the short story collections, Fuga permanente and Álbum de familia; her novels in Spanish include Body Time, Poso Wells, and Humo. Her stories have appeared in anthologies in French, English, Chinese, Hebrew, Portuguese and Croatian. Poso Wells is her first full-length work to appear in English.
Celebrated Ecuadorian author Gabriela Alemán's first work to appear in English: a noir, feminist eco-thriller in which venally corrupt politicians and greedy land speculators finally get their just comeuppance!
In the squalid settlement of Poso Wells, women have been regularly disappearing, but the authorities have shown little interest. When the leading presidential candidate comes to town, he and his entourage are electrocuted in a macabre accident witnessed by a throng of astonished spectators. The sole survivor—next in line for the presidency—inexplicably disappears from sight.
Gustavo Varas, a principled journalist, picks up the trail, which leads him into a violent, lawless underworld. Bella Altamirano, a fearless local, is on her own crusade to pierce the settlement's code of silence, ignoring repeated death threats. It turns out that the disappearance of the candidate and those of the women are intimately connected, and not just to a local crime wave, but to a multinational magnate's plan to plunder the country's cloud forest preserve.
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY REVIEW
Ecuadorian writer Alemán’s sparkling collection (after the novel Poso Wells) brims with humor and adventure. In the poignant “Baptism,” an unnamed bartender and expert on Alexander Selkirk, inspiration for the Robinson Crusoe character, befriends Max, an 81-year-old customer who convinces the narrator to take him on an underwater voyage in the Galápagos in search of Selkirk’s long-lost treasure. The shadowy narrator in “Family Outing” finds work in Ecuador escorting young, overzealous missionaries attempting to convert the native Huao people, with whom the missionaries unexpectedly end up in a violent confrontation. A widow in “Marriage” discovers her recently deceased husband isn’t the failure she always thought he was after stumbling across large bank accounts, cash, and references to children that aren’t hers, leading her on an investigation involving a nefarious notary.