The Dial Press, Hardcover, 9780385336642, 384pp.
Publication Date: June 27, 2006
Don Victor Sobrevilla, a lovable, eccentric engineer, always dreamed of founding a paper factory in the heart of the Peruvian rain forest, and at the opening of this miraculous novel his dream has come true—until he discovers the recipe for cellophane. In a life already filled with signs and portents, the family dog suddenly begins to cough strangely. A wild little boy turns azurite blue. All at once Don Victor is overwhelmed by memories of his erotic past; his prim wife, Doña Mariana, reveals the shocking truth about her origins; the three Sobrevilla children turn their love lives upside down; the family priest blurts out a long-held secret....
A hilarious plague of truth has descended on the once well-behaved Sobrevillas, only the beginning of this brilliantly realized, generous-hearted novel. Marie Arana’s style, originality, and trenchant wit will establish her as one of the most audacious talents in fiction today and Cellophane as one of the most evocative and spirited novels of the year.
Marie Arana is the editor of the Washington Post Book World. Born in Peru of a Peruvian father and an American mother, she is the author of American Chica, a finalist for the PEN—Memoir Award and the National Book Award, and a collection of columns, The Writing Life: Writers on How They Think and Work. Marie Arana lives in Washington, D.C., and Lima, Peru.
"Memorable fiction…. Arana brings a freshness to the style that is all her own, elegant and lyrical but at the same time sparse, and no doubt enriched by a vocabulary infused with the rhythms of her two languages."—The Miami Herald
"Rich in themes, symbolism, conflict and character…. It's also, for those who just want a good tale, a brilliant piece of storytelling that combines magical realism in the tradition of writers such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez with comedic looks at human foibles and misunderstandings a la Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream."—The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
"Exuberant and virtuosic.... Conflict takes on a teeming array of forms in Cellophane: whites versus natives, religion versus magic, feudalism versus revolution. It’s a vision of the rain forest as a place where every strain of human drama grows as tangled as the encroaching vines—and in depicting this, Arana has wound her themes together with an energetic, subtly controlled wildness."—San Francisco Chronicle Books
"Marie Arana's sumptuous, often erotic and wholly enchanting novel, Cellophane…. owes a debt to the magical realism of Gabriel García Márquez and Isabel Allende…. A superb example of the magic that a gifted storyteller can work with ink and paper."—Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Arana’s writing is both lush and funny…. This is a great book.”—People
"An absolutely spellbinding tale…. Arana's prose is captivating, and she provides some incredibly beguiling moments."—Philadelphia City Paper