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Del Balboa Cafe al Apartheid and Back

Heartthrob is so unique, so deeply sui generis. The fevered writing seems to require more than one language to fully express the sizzle and chaos of love and desire—we are changed, simmered, and taught by the free flow of tongues.”
—Tim Miller, author of A Body in the O

On a wintry Thursday night in San Francisco, Susana Chávez-Silverman catches her first glimpse of a handsome stranger through the window as he passes the infamous Balboa Cafe. She knows immediately he is the man of her dreams. Their eyes meet, he turns, and he enters the bar . . .

She reunites with him in South Africa, still in the grip of apartheid. Their attraction is intense, but the social and political climate threatens to tear them apart. Describing the vicissitudes of the Latina migratory experience, Chávez-Silverman struggles to overcome the hostility of a place that is so unwelcoming to nonwhite persons and outsiders.

Heartthrob, a love story for the ages, implores us to consider how things could have been. In these romantic crónicas based on detailed diary entries and confessional letters to family and friends, Chávez-Silverman weaves together English and Spanish to lay bare the raw intensity and true fragility of love. Anyone who has wondered about the one that got away or sought out the true meaning of happily ever after will be enraptured by this intimate exploration of love, loss, and regret.


Author. Photo credit, Name Susana Chávez-Silverman is a professor of romance languages and literature at Pomona College. She is the author of Killer Crónicas: Bilingual Memories and Scenes from la Cuenca de Los Angeles y otros Natural Disasters.




“J. R. R. Tolkien famously invented a number of languages, including a Germanic variation possibly used by the people who inspired Beowulf. But he never wrote more than a few lines in them. Susana Chávez-Silverman has one-upped him: she has turned Spanglish into an astute literary tongue capable of baroque depths. Her style is charming and her tempo a mix between John Philip Sousa and Astor Piazzola. A triumph!”
—Ilan Stavans, author of On Self-Translation: Meditations on Language


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Also by Susana Chávez-Silverman


Killer Crónicas
Bilingual Memories
Susana Chávez-Silverman


Scenes from la Cuenca de Los Angeles y otros Natural Disasters
Susana Chávez-Silverman

Book Title

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October 2019
LC: 2019008118 PS
336 pp. 6 x 9

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Casebound $34.95 t
ISBN 9780299324308
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