The Weight of Temptation


The Weight of Temptation

Ana María Shua
Translated by Andrea G. Labinger

Latin American Women Writers Series

200 pages


October 2012


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

October 2012


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Dystopian fantasy, political parable, morality tale—however one reads it, this novel is first and foremost pure Ana María Shua, a work of fiction like no other and a dark pleasure to read. Shua, an Argentinian writer widely celebrated throughout Latin America, frames her complex drama in deceptively simple, straightforward prose. The story takes place at a fat farm called The Reeds, a nightmare world that might not exist but certainly could. The last resort of the overweight wealthy (or sponsored), The Reeds subjects its “campers” to extreme measures—particularly the regimented system of public humiliation imposed by its director, a glib and sharp-minded sadist called the Professor.

Into the midst of this methodical madness comes Marina Rubin, who experiences all the excesses of The Reeds. The pervasive cruelty of this refined novel distances it from facile conclusions. Amid the mordant social satire, The Reeds’ obese campers are far more than merely victims of the system, subjected to impossible social demands for physical perfection. Out of control, fierce, rebellious, or subjugated, they are recognizable human beings, contending with an unjust but efficient authority in their unique and solitary ways.

Author Bio

Ana María Shua’s work Microfictions and her novel Death as a Side Effect are available from the University of Nebraska Press. Andrea G. Labinger is a professor of Spanish emerita from the University of La Verne in Southern California. Her many translations include Shua’s Death as a Side Effect, Alicia Steimberg’s The Rainforest (Nebraska, 2006), and Call Me Magdalena (Nebraska, 2001).


“Shua ridicules the idea of thinness as . . . an aristocratic model, as well as the institutions that promote that ideal. [The Weight of Temptation] is a sharp, funny, acid, and entertaining novel.”—Patricio Lennard, Radar: Página/12

“Who’s not afraid of those extra pounds? Who doesn’t need the mirror’s daily reassurance? Who doesn’t fear ugliness and isolation as even more unbearable than death? In her latest novel, Ana María Shua tracks the unhappy path of the obese to those murky institutions that claim omnipotence.”—Magdalena Ruiz Guiñazu, Perfil


“Written in a rich, colloquial language stripped of euphemism, alternately raw and seductive.”—Marta Ortiz, La Capital

"Are thinness, youth and beauty really the ultimate values of the human race? Science fiction, allegory or parody, this tasty little novel serves up a witty parody of today's calorie-obsessed culture to sweeten its merciless, well-aimed bite."—Nick DiMartino, Nick's Picks, University Book Store, Seattle

"Shua’s The Weight of Temptation is an insightful piece of literature demonstrating the harsh realities based on the concerns of what it means to be overweight."—Brittany Gilbert, Big Muddy

"[The Weight of Temptation] offers an incredible new look into the cyclic addiction to food and fans of dystopian literature, political parables, and food aficionados will find this to be a newly relevant twist on an old tale."—Three Percent

Table of Contents

1. Weighing In

2. Fast Day

3. The Group

4. Case History I

5. The Barracks

6. Case History II

7. Beat Your Face

8. Case History III

9. The Clockwork Orange

10. Case History IV

11. The Inferno

12. The Phone Call

13. The Campfires

14. New Friends

15. His Own Grave

16. Food Trafficking

17. Sob Stories

18. The Farewell Party

19. The Orgy

20. Elephant Seals

21. I Have a Lover

22. It Had to Be Esteban

23. The Divine Comedy

24. Passion

25. Carola

26. Under Cover

27. Betrayal

28. At the Finish Line

29. Survival

30. The Unforeseen

31. The Crossing

32. The New Order

33. Outside

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