Javier Montes is the author of several novels and essays, most recently the novel La vida de hotel, translated into English as The Hotel Life. His work was included in Granta’s Best Young Spanish Language Writers issue and has appeared in El País, ABC, ArtNews, The Brooklyn Rail, and Letras Libres. His essay in this issue comes from a work in progress, Stranded in Paradise, about Rio de Janeiro and the experiences of four writers “exiled” there: Manuel Puig, Elizabeth Bishop, Stefan Zweig, and Rosa Chacel.
In the prologue to her book of interviews with Argentine writers, Primera Persona, Graciela Speranza describes her visit with the then tremendously famous Manuel Puig at his house in the glamorous Leblon neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro. It was . . .