For middle-aged Cecilia, the rainforest represents both solace and tenuously controlled danger, as she discovers when she follows the same path each day from her hotel at a Brazilian spa into the surrounding jungle. Although her daily forays are designed to help leave her painful past behind, Cecilia’s thoughts return to her deceased husband, her drug-addicted son, and her own place in the world. These thoughts are her only company until the present intrudes once more in the unlikely form of a fellow patient at the spa, a North American man who might represent a second chance.
In The Rainforest, the award-winning novelist Alicia Steimberg offers the reader new definitions of happiness and mature love—or perhaps simply the reassurance that in life, nothing is ever quite as terrible as one fears or quite as glorious as one remembers.
Alicia Steimberg was born in 1933 in Buenos Aires, the descendant of Eastern European Jewish immigrants to Argentina. She received an advanced education and training in English and has worked for many years as a professional translator. Her own literature has a clear autobiographical component, and she has earned a reputation as one of Argentina’s best contemporary writers. In 1992 she was awarded the prestigious Premio Planeta Biblioteca del Sur for her novel Cuando digo Magdalena, since translated into English and available in the Bison Books edition, Call Me Magdalena.
Andrea G. Labinger is a professor of Spanish and the director of the honors program at the University of La Verne in Southern California. Her many translations include Alicia Steimberg’s Call Me Magdalena and Carlos Cerda’s An Empty House, also available in a Bison Books edition.
"From Argentine novelist Steimberg . . . comes a poetically written and beautifully translated perspective on personal happiness, solace, and mature love."—Library Journal
"In a novel as fragmented and verdant as memory itself, Argentine author Steimberg (Call Me Magdalena) creates a troubled Argentine writer, a widow in her late 50s who seeks comfort and recovery at a convalescent spa in the lush Brazilian rain forest. In scraps of tortured writing, dreams and unbidden recollections, Cecilia examines her relationships with three men: her deceased second husband, Dardo; Federico, the violent drug-addicted son she has cut out of her life; and Steve, a biologist from Los Angeles with whom she falls in love. . . . The question this reflective novel finally poses is whether Cecilia is strong enough to risk the possibility of a future with a man who is, ultimately, as imperfect and mortal as she is."—Publishers Weekly