cover image Any Wednesday I'm Yours

Any Wednesday I'm Yours

Mayra Santos-Febres. Riverhead Books, $14 (288pp) ISBN 978-1-59448-001-0

In Latina author Santos-Febres's intriguing noir debut, Julian Castrodad, an aspiring writer who's been fired from his newspaper job, finds ""temporary"" work as a night clerk at San Juan, Puerto Rico's Motel Tulan, where sex, intrigue and desperation are frequent customers. This night world is unlike anything Castrodad has experienced, from the elderly man with the beautiful boy to the mysterious woman who arrives alone (and stays that way until Castrodad falls under her spell). Castrodad's guide to this universe is clerk Tadeo Chamdeleau, who teaches him the tricks of the trade. The motel's residents have plenty of fervid dreams, which clash with reality, then break and reform in kaleidoscopic fashion. Particularly impressive is the author's description of the ""tambor,"" which Castrodad attends as a guest and where Santeria, the Afro-Caribbean religion, is celebrated in a fashion that stretches the meaning of diversity to new lengths.