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Flesh Wounds and Purple Flowers - The Cha-Cha Years

Flesh Wounds and Purple Flowers

The Cha-Cha Years

By Francisco Ibanez-Carrasco
Categories: Fiction, LGBTQ+, Gay Literature, BIPOC, Latin American Literature
Paperback : 9781551520988, 176 pages, 2001


An extravagant, tragicomic novel, Flesh Wounds & Purple Flowers takes us into the world of Latino machos and cha-cha divas of Santiago's gay underground, full of dreamers and schemers looking for salvation abroad. One of them is Camilo, a strong-willed queen who makes it out of Chile in the early eighties, but en route to New York lands in Vancouver, where he decides to stay. All the while he maintains contact with a starry network of machos and maricones in Chile, Cuba, and America: an exiled gringa with a mysterious past; a straight lover left behind in crumbling Havana; a transsexual confidante in Santiago. Told in the musical lilt of Spanglish, Camilo tells his story as he lays dying in his hospital bed, recalling a life of sequins, disco, and a plague that is at the same time debilitating and liberating.
Fresh, funny, and full of colour and verve, Flesh Wounds & Purple Flowers reads like a gay Latino version of Valley of the Dolls.
Shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book (Canada-Caribbean).


  • Short-listed, Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book 2001


The story contains many moments of raw beauty, and many of extraordinary power.

-Quill & Quire

- Quill & Quire

By turns comic and tragic, the storytelling style is refreshing and appropriate. . .

-The Loop

- The Loop

. . . wrapped in humourous layers of bittersweet love and hedonistic lust.


- Xtra!

Intricate, delicately plotted and playing to both comedy and tragedy, [Flesh Wounds] is a portrait of a truly unique character. . .

-Gay People's Chronicle

- Gay People's Chron.

. . . very promising. . . [Camilo's] is a voice to mourn; his author, one to hope to hear from again.

-Lambda Book Report

- Lambda Book Report