Department of English

Professor Peter LaSalle publishes new novel, 'Mariposa's Song,' about the lives of undocumented workers

Tue, October 23, 2012
Professor Peter LaSalle publishes new novel, 'Mariposa's Song,' about the lives of undocumented workers
Book cover of 'Mariposa's Song'

About the Novel

In his new novel Mariposa's Song, Peter LaSalle uses a single book-length sentence to tell of a young Honduran woman, twenty-year-old Mariposa, who is in the U.S. without documentation. She's working as a bar girl in a scruffy East Austin nightclub called El Pájaro Verde in 2005, and her story takes readers into the shadowy world that undocumented workers are too often forced to live in today due to current immigration laws.

Novelist Madison Smartt Bell has said: "Mariposa’s Song is a tragedy that rings distressingly true to the bone—and never has Peter LaSalle’s prose sung so melodiously." And Publishers Weekly notes: "LaSalle's new novel is brief, but it feels expansive with its continued breathlessness . . . Mariposa's raw desire to escape club life is well-rendered."

Mariposa's Song is published in The Americas Series from Texas Tech University Press. Edited by Irene Vilar and with a national advisory board, the series issues mostly work by Latin American writers in translation (recent releases include Nicaraguan poet Ernesto Cardenal and Brazilian novelist Moacyr Scliar) and also the occasional original book on a Latino subject that reflects the series' stated mission of "cultivating cross-cultural and intellectual exploration across borders and historical divides."

LaSalle will talk about Mariposa's Song at the Texas Book Festival on Saturday, October 28 in a three-author panel discussion on immigration narratives, "Nunca Volver: New Lives, New Lands," moderated by Melissa del Bosque and to be held in the Texas State Capitol building. An excerpt from the novel will be featured in the December issue of The Texas Observer.

About the Author

LaSalle is the author of several books of fiction, and his work has appeared in many anthologies, including Best American Short Stories, Best American Mystery Stories, Best American Travel Writing, Sports' Best Short Stories, and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. A new paperback edition of his 2007 short story collection Tell Borges If You See Him: Tales of Contemporary Somnambulism, recipient of the Flannery O'Connor Award, was issued by University of Georgia Press in April 2012, and a Turkish translation of that collection is forthcoming in December 2012 from the Istanbul publisher Monokl. His latest short story collection, What I Found Out About Her and Other Stories, will be published in 2014 by University of Notre Dame Press as the recipient of its Richard Sullivan Prize in Short Fiction.

LaSalle is Susan Taylor McDaniel Regents Professor in Creative Writing at UT, teaching in both the Department of English and the Michener Center for Writers.

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