Manuel Puig

By: William Nericcio
December 28, 2014


Unlike, say, a Faulkner or Fitzgerald, writers who were supposedly ruined by moving to Hollywood, the sensibilities of Argentinian author MANUEL PUIG (Juan Manuel Puig Delledonne, 1932–90) were informed by movies and TV. His first great work was the semi-autobiographical 1968 novel Betrayed by Rita Hayworth, which explored the effect of film on a young boy’s evolving intellectual sexuality (or sexual intellectualism). His masterwork, 1976’s Kiss of the Spider Woman, blasts political and sexual repression… and later made a terrific movie. Lights, camera, action suffuse the cadence of Puig’s sentences, the arc lights highlighting the queer deliciousness of his unforgettable personages: Toto Casals enraptured by classic Hollywood, trapped ecstatically in the darkness with his mother and his own emerging gay yearnings; Luis Molina and Valentín Arregui, unlikely lovers/prisoners, trapped in a cell, whilst living a dance that ends in death and torture. Only Walker Percy, in The Moviegoer, comes as close to fathoming the intoxicating hegemony of Hollywood’s moving pictures.


On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Guy Debord, Stan Lee, Oyvind Fahlstrom, Alasdair Gray, Arthur Eddington, Chris Ware, Alex Chilton.

READ MORE about members of the Postmodernist Generation (1924-33).


HiLo Heroes, Literature