The Dark Bride: A Novel
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Once a month, the refinery workers of the Tropical Oil Company descend upon Tora, a city in the Colombian forest. They journey down from the mountains searching for earthly bliss and hoping to encounter Sayonara, the legendary Indian prostitute who rules their squalid paradise like a queen. Beautiful, exotic, and mysterious, Sayonara, the undisputed barrio angel, captivates whoever crosses her path. Then, one day, she violates the unwritten rules of her profession and falls in love with a man she can never have. Sayonara's unrequited passion has tragic consequences not only for her, but for all those whose lives ultimately depend on the Tropical Oil Company.
A slyly humorous yet poignant love story, The Dark Bride lovingly recreates the lusty, heartrending world of Colombian prostitutes and the men of the oil fields who are entranced by them. Full of wit and intelligence, tragedy and compassion, The Dark Bride is luminous and unforgettable.
invented, produced, and promoted himself: pepper suppositories.” “That’s why Piruetas prances through life,” laughs Todos los Santos. “Just like that, sort of like a tight-assed Punch, as if holding a pepper suppository between his buttocks.” “In addition, he sold condoms made from animal intestines,” Sacramento continues, “also patented by him and promoted as the modern solution against pregnancy and infection, but infamous among users for being uncomfortable, slippery, and of dubious
her vanished. “Maybe she boarded a chalupa and went downriver,” said the fishermen without conviction. “Maybe, who knows?” Isolated in her house, a perplexed and shaken Todos los Santos locked herself in her room and lit three candles of supplication on her altar. “Tell me where she is, Jesucristo,” she begged. “If you don’t know, no one knows.” The Holy Christ smiled at her as pained as always, sweet and removed from human affairs, never uttering a word. Then Todos los Santos began to study
aboard a champán festooned for the party and overflowing with music and people, Payanés was still navigating foreign waters. He didn’t dance with the girls as the other men did, or drink rum straight from the bottle like the old women. Instead, he was quiet and took refuge from the sun under the roof of palm fronds and tanned hides, grateful for the north winds that tempered the morning air and helped disperse the antiquated tunes with which the band was trying to liven up the boat ride, but
is it, this is her hair . . . now, please tie it around my neck.” Payanés obeyed without protest, because you don’t deny a terminal patient his last elixir of hope; because deep down he knew he could recover his memento as soon as his friend expired and because he understood, in a subtle way that he didn’t know how to put into words, that for several months and especially now, as they were about to say goodbye, he and his friend were like two parts of the same person, the part who stays and the
members of the battalion threatened to enter the camp, take it by force, and squash the rebels, but they hesitated. They put off the decision, as if giving themselves time, since they knew that once inside they wouldn’t be able to shoot because any stray bullet could ignite the wells and unleash hell. In the meantime the workers were reinforcing themselves. The strike committee was gathered in some secret corner; Lino el Titi resumed control and decreed that the strike must continue until victory