A handsome doctor, tortured by his dark past, returns home from exile in Europe to perform house calls for bored, rich housewives.
Robbed of her beauty by smallpox, a spinster countess in a crumbling palace, swallows her own pain by devoting her life to God and caring for the downtrodden in the city’s worst neighborhoods.
An upper class gentleman, shunned from the city as a “sodomite” returns as an openly gay revolutionary who refuses to apologize for his politics nor for whom he loves.
It’s the end of the 19th century and the setting is Mexico City under the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz. The Eurocentric old guard are losing their hold on the city, but who or what will replace it remains uncertain.
The book is The City of Palaces by Michael Nava; A finalist for this year’s Lambda Literary Awards. As a devout chilangophile, I’ll read anything set in Mexico City, but this particular book took my breath away. The surprising cast of characters sucked me in right from the start and Nava's talent for storytelling carried me straight to the heart of a country on the brink of revolution.
If you need a page-turner to read this Summer with amazing characters that breathe life into history, check out The City of Palaces.