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Sirena Selena PDF, ePub eBook Discovered by Martha Divine in the backstreets of San Juan, picking over garbage, drugged out of his mind and singing boleros that transfix the listener, a fifteen year old hustler is transformed into Sirena Selena, a diva whose uncanny beauty and irrisistable voice will be their ticket to fame and fortune. Auditioning for one of the luxury hotels in the Dominican Republic Discovered by Martha Divine in the backstreets of San Juan, picking over garbage, drugged out of his mind and singing boleros that transfix the listener, a fifteen year old hustler is transformed into Sirena Selena, a diva whose uncanny beauty and irrisistable voice will be their ticket to fame and fortune. Auditioning for one of the luxury hotels in the Dominican Republic, Selena casts her spell over Hugo Graubel, one of the hotel's rich investors. Graubel is a powerful man in the Republic, married with children. Silena, determined to escape the poverty and abuse s/he suffered as a child, engages Graubel in a long seduction in this mordant, intensely lyrical tragi-comedy - part masque, part cabaret - about identity (class, race, gender) and "the hunger and desire to be other things."

30 review for Sirena Selena

  1. 4 out of 5

    Alexis Ayala

    No se pierdan esta joyita, lectores. De verdad, es un canto de sirena.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cristhian

    (Ésta va en español) ¿Saben cómo, dentro del imaginario colectivo gay, muchos de nosotros tenemos la imagen de RuPaul como LA drag queen? En parte, claro está, por la fama mundial que ha alcanzado debido al reality que gira en torno de la búsqueda de nuevas reinas en Estados Unidos. Ciertamente, esa percepción de la cultura drag en un entorno latinoamericano se queda muy corta puesto que muchas veces tendemos a idealizar el producto extranjero y menospreciar el producto nacional/regional. En este (Ésta va en español) ¿Saben cómo, dentro del imaginario colectivo gay, muchos de nosotros tenemos la imagen de RuPaul como LA drag queen? En parte, claro está, por la fama mundial que ha alcanzado debido al reality que gira en torno de la búsqueda de nuevas reinas en Estados Unidos. Ciertamente, esa percepción de la cultura drag en un entorno latinoamericano se queda muy corta puesto que muchas veces tendemos a idealizar el producto extranjero y menospreciar el producto nacional/regional. En este sentido, "Sirena Selena vestida de pena" arroja un rayo de luz a la cultura drag latinoamericana poniendo en el centro del escenario la historia de una reina desde la perspectiva de un habitante de la República Dominicana. Mayra Santos-Febres logra descentralizar la identidad de la cultura drag y la posiciona lejos del imaginario estadounidense de la identidad drag. La estructura de la novela la hacen bastante amena de leer (capítulos cortos y lenguaje conciso) pero sin dejar de lado las metáforas que Santos-Febres utiliza de manera tragicómica sobre el sexo gay y los procesos que conlleva la creación de una persona artística como lo hacen las reinas. Esta novela está llena de tintes dramáticos y cómicos (justo como lo es un show de drags) que todos aquellos que buscan separarse un poco de los ideales estadounidenses de diversidad deben leer. :)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Billy

    Un des plus beaux romans sur la thématique du travestisme et LGBT que j'ai lu ! Un lyrisme d'une beauté toute simple mais tres touchant . Beaucoup de narrateurs mais on s'y retrouve bien . Sublime!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dusty

    Puerto Rico: not exactly the United States, not exactly independent. Transvestites: not exactly male, not exactly female. Or at least that's how it works in Maya Santos-Febres's outstanding debut novel, Sirena Selena, in which the two properties (Puerto Rico and transvestites) become metaphors for each other. The book is sublimely fulfilling on a number of levels -- as an allegory (the Caribbean as an object of male American/European desire), as an "inside critique" of the dominant literary aesth Puerto Rico: not exactly the United States, not exactly independent. Transvestites: not exactly male, not exactly female. Or at least that's how it works in Maya Santos-Febres's outstanding debut novel, Sirena Selena, in which the two properties (Puerto Rico and transvestites) become metaphors for each other. The book is sublimely fulfilling on a number of levels -- as an allegory (the Caribbean as an object of male American/European desire), as an "inside critique" of the dominant literary aesthetic in Latin America (the macho Boom novels), as a statement about the artificiality of sex roles, and as a moving narrative about people (mostly established and aspiring drag queens) who, like everyone, struggle for power over their own destinies. The last of these, the utter realness of the characters, surprised me most. Consider Selena, the book's namesake, who as a child is orphaned over, and over, and over, until he finds his "true" self (ironically, in drag) and his true talent: singing aching boleros. Consider his first "protectora", the drug-addicted street tranny Valentina, who comes without makeup, in her unnatural state, to visit Selena in the hospital, and who sacrifices her entire body and soul to shelter her. Consider Miss Martha Divine, Selena's second "protectora", who identifies her bolero's marketability and travels her to the Dominican Republic for auditions. Or consider minor characters like Dominican boys Migueles and Leocadio who, in adolescence, learn how to make the most of their predetermined roles as Caribbean men in a country whose (financial and social) economy depends upon tourists who come in search for pleasure, and perhaps for women. Much has been written about Selena's politics, and for good reason, but the book's characters are what made me love, and not just admire, it. Santos-Febres is a keeper.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Flores Ramos

    Siguiendo con "nuevas lecturas" estos días estuve leyendo "Sirena Selena, vestida de pena" desde que lo vi en la FILMTY2017 me entró una enorme curiosidad por hacerme de el, este libro nos cuenta como cambia la vida de un chico de 15 años desde que es descubierto por una drag queen, La Martha Divine (mi personaje favorito), su próxima oportunidad de salir de República Dominicana para ir a probar suerte a Puerto Rico y las aventuras que pasan por ahí. La novela en si es un poco cruda, me gustaría Siguiendo con "nuevas lecturas" estos días estuve leyendo "Sirena Selena, vestida de pena" desde que lo vi en la FILMTY2017 me entró una enorme curiosidad por hacerme de el, este libro nos cuenta como cambia la vida de un chico de 15 años desde que es descubierto por una drag queen, La Martha Divine (mi personaje favorito), su próxima oportunidad de salir de República Dominicana para ir a probar suerte a Puerto Rico y las aventuras que pasan por ahí. La novela en si es un poco cruda, me gustaría decir que es una lectura que todos pueden disfrutar, pero tal vez muchos aún se saquen de onda, eso si lleva con sigo ese humor que a veces no sabes si reír o guardartelo. No quiero decir más, si tienen oportunidad y la curiosidad, léanlo, que la Martha Divine los va a acompañar.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Carlos Bexlier

    Sirena Selena vestida de pena nos cuenta la historia de un chico que vivió una vida muy dura, al leer el libro nos daremos cuenta de ello, pero la historia comienza con Martha Divine; la famosa drag queen que recogió a ese chico y al que convirtió en Sirena Selena para poder trabajar y generar ingresos. Cuando comienza la novela te plantea el hecho que Martha y Sirena se suben a una avión porque van rumbo a otro país a cerrar un negocio para expandir el show de Sirena Selena a un hotel, esto ayud Sirena Selena vestida de pena nos cuenta la historia de un chico que vivió una vida muy dura, al leer el libro nos daremos cuenta de ello, pero la historia comienza con Martha Divine; la famosa drag queen que recogió a ese chico y al que convirtió en Sirena Selena para poder trabajar y generar ingresos. Cuando comienza la novela te plantea el hecho que Martha y Sirena se suben a una avión porque van rumbo a otro país a cerrar un negocio para expandir el show de Sirena Selena a un hotel, esto ayudaría a Martha porque el dinero sería perfecto para hacer su transición. A lo largo del libro conocemos cosas del pasado de los personajes que en la novela se nos presentan y podemos conocer mucho de la cultura drag del caribe. Debo decir que el libro fue extraño en muchos sentidos pero me gustó todo lo que provocó en mí, de hecho hay una escena que me pareció exageradamente bella y es algo que jamás en mi vida lectora se me va a olvidar. Es un libro que recomiendo mucho, porque toca temas muy fuertes y duros que nunca había leído en un libro LGBT. Creo que si el libro no hubiera sido en cierto sentido pesado de leer le hubiera dejado las 5 estrellas.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Chidester

    A story of what it takes to survive. A story of accepting who you are. Sirena Selena is a fifteen year old boy, who was homeless and singing in a back alley digging for food scraps when he was discovered by drag queen Martha Divine. You learn of both their stories and how they came to this turning point in their lives. One wants fame, one wants love, both want to survive. This is a great read on gender role expectations, gender fluidity, sexual fetishes, the life of drag, the chasing of dreams, A story of what it takes to survive. A story of accepting who you are. Sirena Selena is a fifteen year old boy, who was homeless and singing in a back alley digging for food scraps when he was discovered by drag queen Martha Divine. You learn of both their stories and how they came to this turning point in their lives. One wants fame, one wants love, both want to survive. This is a great read on gender role expectations, gender fluidity, sexual fetishes, the life of drag, the chasing of dreams, and the realization that not all dreams come to light. It also gives you a look into the culture of San Juan, the beautiful things about it and the dangerous. Highly recommend.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Virgowriter (Brad Windhauser)

    Engaging read that—prompted by a cover blurb—echoes of Like Water for Chocolate. Engaging protagonists, especially one that takes control of their life (as opposed to being a victim. Selena reads as a trans character through most of this, a read Supported by pronoun use. But this changes, sort of, to suggests Selena is the drag persona of a gay man. This doesn’t hamper the read, but did obscure how I understood the character. Hugo is also an interesting minor character. His wife Solange’s bigotry Engaging read that—prompted by a cover blurb—echoes of Like Water for Chocolate. Engaging protagonists, especially one that takes control of their life (as opposed to being a victim. Selena reads as a trans character through most of this, a read Supported by pronoun use. But this changes, sort of, to suggests Selena is the drag persona of a gay man. This doesn’t hamper the read, but did obscure how I understood the character. Hugo is also an interesting minor character. His wife Solange’s bigotry is palpable. Good use of setting and fertile ground for analysis of pronoun use, especially when they’re all over the place when Selena is with Hugo.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alberto Glez

    Es uno de los libros mejor escritos que he leído. La historia es buena, no esperaba para nada que fuera así, pero el estilo en que está escrito es magistral. Cada capítulo tiene algo que lo hace especial, y no me refiero a la historia (aunque también), sino a los recursos que utiliza la autora para narrarla. En verdad es uno de los mejores libros que he leído en mucho tiempo.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Oliver Lavalle Ortega

    Increible historia, Mayra es una de mis favoritas. Me considero extremadamente fan de Mayra Santos, para mí una autora maravillosa, un libro de un realismo mágico increíble. Me encantó la historia la manera de narrativa, el desarrollo de una novela de un personaje increíble.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sierra

    Incredibly lyrical, beautiful prose, with some stunning formal choices and a good dose of historical awareness.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Giovanni Gregory

    Buenos momentos.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Eduardo Santiago

    I so wanted to like this book. The situations felt intensely real. The places, the language, yes, mostly. The characters, alas, were hollow and lifeless. I’m going to hate myself in the morning for saying this but the parallel is too eerie to ignore: the book I stopped reading to read this one is Feet of Clay, in which golems figure prominently, and I found myself musing that Sir Terry’s soulless speechless automatons have more emotional depth, more complex desires and whims and conflicts than ar I so wanted to like this book. The situations felt intensely real. The places, the language, yes, mostly. The characters, alas, were hollow and lifeless. I’m going to hate myself in the morning for saying this but the parallel is too eerie to ignore: the book I stopped reading to read this one is Feet of Clay, in which golems figure prominently, and I found myself musing that Sir Terry’s soulless speechless automatons have more emotional depth, more complex desires and whims and conflicts than are found anywhere in Sirena Selena. This strikes me as unjust because these are stories that need to be heard and which I want to hear. Language note: for complex reasons I read the English translation, not the original. The translation mostly reads well, though some places felt awkward in ways that made sense only if I thought about the phrase in Spanish. Proofreading was poor, and it depresses the hell out of me to realize that I just started writing “...but I‘m getting used to that.” Misspellings (boriqua, siñor); inconsistent spellings, sometimes in places that matter, leading to confusion (“Finn” / “Finín”, a name); even punctuation marks in the middle of a word. Why are publishers so careless these days?

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Mcgill

    Miss Martha Divine, an old veteran of the Drag Queen scene in New York and Puerto Rico, has found her ticket to glory: a 15-year-old with a voice like an angel, who takes on the artist name of Sirena Selena. Miss Martha takes her young protege to the neighboring Dominican Republic, in an attempt to sell the act to one of the fancy tourist hotels there - where they won't mind that the performer is underage. After seeing Sirena Selena's audition, one very wealthy businessman, Hugo Graubel, is capti Miss Martha Divine, an old veteran of the Drag Queen scene in New York and Puerto Rico, has found her ticket to glory: a 15-year-old with a voice like an angel, who takes on the artist name of Sirena Selena. Miss Martha takes her young protege to the neighboring Dominican Republic, in an attempt to sell the act to one of the fancy tourist hotels there - where they won't mind that the performer is underage. After seeing Sirena Selena's audition, one very wealthy businessman, Hugo Graubel, is captivated by the young star - in her enchanting performance, he thinks that he has finally found the person that he can love "as I have always wanted to love a woman" (p. 175). Filled with desire, Hugo arranges to have Sirena Selena come to his house, to perform for his business associates at a dinner he will be throwing later that week. His wife, unsatisfied with her husband's continued disinterest in her, is not pleased to have a travesti in the house. Hugo doesn't care what his wife thinks; even if she decides to divorce him over it, he just wants to have Sirena Selena for his very own. Interspersed with Miss Martha Divine's reminiscences about the gay scene in Puerto Rico and New York and a tangentially related look at the friendship between two young boys, this novel questions the stability of gender, sexuality, and dress in the hot Caribbean world of travestis. The original Spanish title of this novel is "Sirena Selena Vestida de Pena" which means both "Sirena Selena, dressed in pain" or "Sirena Selena, dressed with care." (If I remember my formerly-fluent but long-disused Spanish correctly.) No wonder the translator chose to just shorten the title! This original title captures the essence of the book and of Sirena's character. After a terribly difficult childhood, involving living on the streets after his grandmother's death, drugs, and being raped, the young performer finally has the opportunity to make something of her life. After dressing carefully for the role (she is a consummate actress), she wows her audiences with her soul-filled renditions of her grandmother's boleros. It is the emotion, the pain imbued in the songs, that gives her voice the power to enchant her listeners. Perhaps it is for this reason that Hugo is so drawn to this young travesti. It seems that, his whole life, he has been hiding the fact that he is gay, something that is frowned upon by his family and Dominican society, especially for someone of his social standing. Feeling pressured to act and appear straight, he married a woman and had children, but did not enjoy any of it. He sees his salvation in Sirena: while she appears to be the perfect woman, her male genitalia will allow him to truly love her physically for the first time. Read the rest on my blog: http://thegloballycurious.blogspot.co...

  15. 4 out of 5

    MC

    Sirena Selena by Mayra Santos-Febres is about an ambitious Puerto Rican drag queen named Martha Divine and her young protege, Sirena Selena. They head to the Dominican Republic hoping to capitalize on Sirena’s captivating voice by performing boleros live when she captures the fascination of a local, wealthy businessman. Written more than 17 years ago, this book predates progressive gender movements like Latinx, #Ownvoices and the popularity of RuPaul’s Drag Race – which could explain some of the Sirena Selena by Mayra Santos-Febres is about an ambitious Puerto Rican drag queen named Martha Divine and her young protege, Sirena Selena. They head to the Dominican Republic hoping to capitalize on Sirena’s captivating voice by performing boleros live when she captures the fascination of a local, wealthy businessman. Written more than 17 years ago, this book predates progressive gender movements like Latinx, #Ownvoices and the popularity of RuPaul’s Drag Race – which could explain some of the rather unforgiving reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. I picked this book up in June to read as part of Pride Month. And, I’m glad I took a chance on this little sleeper-gem of a book. There’s a lot to unpack with less than 230 pages: multiple, shifting POVs; transcendence of performance art; erotic encounters; and sucker-punch moments of love and cruelty. Apparently, I do not know how to do light summer reading. But, guys, just look at this stuff: “She was a diva from beyond, honoring us with her luminous presence, a goddess who had descended from Mount Olympus to mingle in the dark with us mortals in the hidden bars of gay San Juan.” Upon seeing Sirena descend from a spiral staircase during a performance, the audience nearly loses their damn minds: "The calla lilies wither and, nearly dead, they faint before Selena’s hungry chest. Her moon approaches the balcony, full. The apocalypse is about to occur. Sirena, standing still in the center of the staircase, sings…" To be clear, this ain’t your mama’s "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar" kind of story for mass consumption. And, I also don’t think this is meant to be read as some kind of comprehensive codex of the queer experience in the Caribbean. But, it’s a story and one about the roles we all play (whether forced on us, coerced, imagined or self-imposed) in order to get what we want.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Melvin Rodríguez-Rodríguez

    Una novela poética sobre los terrenos movedizos del Caribe y la sexualidad, narrada con catarsis y humor. Sirena Selena es menor de edad, pobre y gay, pero tiene una voz prodigiosa para cantar boleros que captura la atención de Martha Divine, una mujer trans veterana en el arte de sobrevivir. Martha se lleva a Sirena a la República Dominicana con la intención de hacerla famosa y desde ahí la novela se convierte en un laberinto de historias sobre la marginalidad. La novela explora las diversas ram Una novela poética sobre los terrenos movedizos del Caribe y la sexualidad, narrada con catarsis y humor. Sirena Selena es menor de edad, pobre y gay, pero tiene una voz prodigiosa para cantar boleros que captura la atención de Martha Divine, una mujer trans veterana en el arte de sobrevivir. Martha se lleva a Sirena a la República Dominicana con la intención de hacerla famosa y desde ahí la novela se convierte en un laberinto de historias sobre la marginalidad. La novela explora las diversas ramificaciones de la sexualidad, desde la oposición binaria entre hombre y mujer, hasta el área gris que existe entre el travestismo y lo transgénero. Es también una historia sobre la noche y las identidades alternas que asumen ciertos personajes en busca de un modo de vida más cercano a la realidad que desean esconder. A la vez, la novela hace una profunda reflexión sobre el Caribe, puente del mundo siempre acechado por poderes imperialistas, del mismo modo que unos adolescentes dominicanos son acechados por turistas europeos. Puerto Rico se transfigura en sus protagonistas, nación o estado latino, hombre o mujer, algo entremedio de ambas, etc. Sin embargo, por serios que se escuchen los temas, en la novela pulsa constantemente el humor y la ironía con la que los caribeños desafían la desgracia. En un monólogo Martha Divine presenta la caída de la Unión Soviética como una oportunidad para convertirse en maestra de los travestis rusos. Si acaso la única falla que puede atribuirse a la novela, es el hecho de que los personajes son algo acartonados, sin crecimiento, aunque eso pueda ser un artificio más para su supervivencia. "Sirena Selena, vestida de pena" hace una radiografía de la historia gay de Puerto Rico, que a su vez explora de forma tragicómica las relaciones e intercambios entre la supervivencia y el poder.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Luzadriana Nuñez

    El travestismo es una metáfora de los personajes y máscaras que nos inventamos a diario por temor al rechazo. El temor creciente día con día, de estar solo y enfrentarse como individuo a la masa, nos vuelve hostiles y brujeriles, utilizando los encantos que tengamos a nuestro alcance para ejercer la coacción a nuestro favor y sobrevivir (pero sobre todo ganar) en la salvaje y desasosegadora (pos) modernidad. La sirena que engaña con su canto por las noches aprovecha las ventajas de la oscuridad y El travestismo es una metáfora de los personajes y máscaras que nos inventamos a diario por temor al rechazo. El temor creciente día con día, de estar solo y enfrentarse como individuo a la masa, nos vuelve hostiles y brujeriles, utilizando los encantos que tengamos a nuestro alcance para ejercer la coacción a nuestro favor y sobrevivir (pero sobre todo ganar) en la salvaje y desasosegadora (pos) modernidad. La sirena que engaña con su canto por las noches aprovecha las ventajas de la oscuridad y la debilidad visual para decirnos lo que se ve a plena luz sin que se pueda juzgar su discurso por el aspecto artificioso que se ha procurado.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Gabby

    For a book about transgender women in Puerto Rico, written by a cisgender author, it was okay. There is better transgender fiction written by transgender authors that does not include the same naïve sensationalism and othering that this book offered. The author missed the mark, and regurgitated many common transgender stereotypes, such as confusing drag queens and transgender women, a misogynistic viewpoint that painted many of the characters as goldiggers, and too much emphasis on physical tran For a book about transgender women in Puerto Rico, written by a cisgender author, it was okay. There is better transgender fiction written by transgender authors that does not include the same naïve sensationalism and othering that this book offered. The author missed the mark, and regurgitated many common transgender stereotypes, such as confusing drag queens and transgender women, a misogynistic viewpoint that painted many of the characters as goldiggers, and too much emphasis on physical transitions, for the sake of shocking the audience.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mrs. Luettchau

    This book did not meet my expectations. I thought it had great potential, but compared to other LGBTQ books I've read, it falls short. The lyric prose and poetic descriptions was an enjoyable part of the read, but the fractured nature of the text and the constant switching of characters' names made it difficult to follow.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dinahw

    Intersection of race, sexuality and bolero, set in Puerto Rico. A pleasant read and digs deep into issues of identity, particularly for transgender individuals and their struggle in a hyper-patriarchal society.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Larry Fountain

    A stunning debut novel originally written in Spanish about gay and trans lives in Puerto Rico. Engaging plot focusing on young homeless man with a beautiful voice that seduces all that hear him. A vivid portrait of Santurce, a central district of San Juan.

  22. 4 out of 5

    DKM

    This is gay porn. It pretends to be "literature" and aspires to make profound statements on the commodification of the Caribbean and the nature of gender dysmorphia, but it's really just cheap porn trying to masquerade as Caribbean literature.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ahyoung

    Intoxicating. Poetic. One of my favorite novels I had to read for a class.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    i read this in brasil....it is incredible...

  25. 4 out of 5

    David

    Really impressed.

  26. 4 out of 5

    RSterling

    I just didn't enjoy this book. The author has a very unique writing style that I just didn't enjoy/follow.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lindy

    Yeah, I take issue with portraying a fifteen year old Puerto Rican trans woman/drag queen as a seductress.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    Reading this for class this fall...

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gail

    Escribí mi tesis en este libro y la identidad caribeña. Lo adoro.

  30. 4 out of 5

    stephanie

    wow, no idea what this was even about. at all.

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