book cover of Cousins
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At the age of 85, Aurora Venturini stunned Argentine readers when her darkly funny and formally daring novel, Cousins, won Página/12's New Novel Award. She had already written more than thirty books-but it was only then, in 2007, that she was widely recognized as a radical voice in Spanish-language literature. Venturini never stopped writing in her 92 years and lived a life immersed in the literature and culture of the twentieth century: her first award was given to her in person by Jorge Luis Borges, she was friends and colleagues with Eva Peron; and when she lived in exile in Paris she socialized with a sparkling milieu of writers and philosophers, including Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre.
Widely regarded as Venturini's masterpiece,
Cousins is the story of four women from an impoverished, dysfunctional family in La Plata, Argentina, who are forced to suffer a series of ordeals including disfigurement, illegal abortions, miscarriages, sexual abuse and murder, narrated by a daughter whose success as a painter offers her a chance to achieve economic independence and help her family as best she can.
Neighborhood mythologies, family, female sexuality, vengeance, and social mobility through art are explored and scrutinized in the unmistakable voice of an unforgettable protagonist, Yuna, who stares wildly at the world in which she is compelled to live; a voice unique in its candidness, sharp edge and utterly breathtaking power.
Cousins is the jewel in Venturini's oeuvre-mischievous and stylish, vital and mysterious, and completely original.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"Cousins is a novel that makes you laugh out loud with its provocations and unexpected choices. Bodies are pushed to the limit in writing that gushes forth like blood. With Cousins Aurora Venturini achieved the acclaim she'd been seeking all her life and enjoyed it in characteristic fashion: baring the scars of the monstrous persona she cultivated with ironic lucidity." - Mariana Enríquez

"When I first read Venturini, it was a genuine discovery, the kind that Pascal describes in Memorial. Reading, real reading, is the Stendhal syndrome, it's like being bombarded, and that's what Aurora Venturini is . . . Venturini's characters fit Kafka's premise that 'Writing . . . is to leap out of the ranks of murderers.'" - Ariana Harwicz

"Brimming with life, humor, and a vital twist of darkness, Venturini's English-language debut marks the arrival of a singular voice with a sharp, visceral approach to story. Reading Cousins is like being inside the belly of a wild, rambunctious beast, going where it goes, exhilarated no matter how perilous the journey." - Alexandra Kleeman

"Cruel and strange and colorful--Cousins will be an immediate favorite for fans of Fleur Jaeggy and Leonora Carrington." - Catherine Lacey

"Women are the fiery nucleus of Cousins, a hellishly tender and hilariously twisted Little Women. Venturini seems to caress the monstrosity of her invention like a dearly freakish pet, and that intimacy shines through the darkness of her writing, so full of candor and brilliance, like a creature of obsidian light." - Pola Oloixarac

"Cousins is a unique, extreme novel of disarming originality." - Alan Pauls

"One has no choice but to succumb to Yuna Riglos' corrosive charm." - Camila Sosa Villada

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