Title Pick: Wicked Weeds by Pedro Cabiya

A Caribbean zombie, smart, gentlemanly, financially independent and a top executive in an important pharmaceutical company, becomes obsessed with finding the formula that would reverse his condition and allow him to become “a real person.” In the process, three of his closest collaborators (cerebral and calculating Isadore, wide-eyed and sentimental Mathilde, and rambunctious Patricia), guide the reluctant and baffled scientist through the unpredictable intersections of love, passion, empathy, and humanity. But the playful maze of jealousy and amorous intrigue that a living being would find easy and fun to negotiate, represents an insurmountable tangle of obscure intentions and dangerous ambiguities for our “undead” protagonist.

Wicked Weeds is put together from Isadore’s “scrapbook,” where she has collected her boss’s scientific goals and existential agony; her own reflections about growing up a Haitian descendant in the Dominican Republic and what it really means to be human; police reports; field journal entries; her great-aunt Sandrine’s heart-rending journey from rural Haiti to urban Dominican Republic as a restavek; and a wealth of oral lore. The end result is a genre unique in its class: a precise combination of Caribbean noir and science-fiction… that is, a work of speculative fiction full of humor, sociological pursuits, and in-depth explorations into religious syncretism and its survival in the modern world. A must read from one the most respected and prolific writers living in the Caribbean today, this English translation, skillfully rendered by Jessica Powell, offers a new audience initial access to a compelling body of work that has already reached cult status in its native Spanish.

Pedro Cabiya is a poet, screenwriter and award-winning author of the bestselling novels Trance and The Head, as well as the seminal short-story collections Historias tremendas (Pen Club Book of the Year) and Historias atroces. His work has been featured in numerous international anthologies, and his open letters, opinion pieces and essays on politics, religion, human rights, art and science regularly become viral phenomena. He has lived in Spain, the United States, Haiti and Puerto Rico. He currently resides in the Dominican Republic, where he is Dean of Academic Affairs at the American School of Santo Domingo and Senior Producer at Heart of Gold Films. Follow him @PedroCabiya and http://www.pedrocabiya.com..

Jessica Powell, a translator, holds a PhD in Hispanic Languages and Literatures from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has published numerous translations of Latin American authors, including Antonio Benítez-Rojo, Jorge Luis Borges, César Vallejo, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Silvina Ocampo, Edgardo Rivera Martínez, María Moreno, Edmundo Paz-Soldán, Liliana Heer, Alan Pauls, and Anna Lidia Vega Serova.

Wicked Weeds
Pedro Cabiya
Translated from the Spanish by Jessica Powell
2016, Mandel Vilar Press
ISBN: 9781942134114

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