Alemán is well-known as one of Ecuador’s most distinctive writers and possibly one of the best contemporary writers in the Spanish language. Her first novel to appear in English is an intriguing mix of noir, satire, horror, mystery, and events so absurd they’re utterly realistic. The action starts in impoverished Poso Wells, where many of the town’s women have disappeared, but officials have done nothing. Then, when the leading presidential candidate makes a campaign stop there, he’s electrocuted in a bizarre accident. That piques the interest of Gustavo Varas, a journalist, whose investigation leads him to a violent underworld. There his path intersects with that of a woman from the town, Bella Altamirano, who braves death threats to expose the truth of a multinational company’s plans to exploit the area’s delicate cloud forest.
Alemán will be in conversation with Gwen Kirkpatrick, Spanish professor at Georgetown University specializing in Latin American literature.