cover image My Favorite Girlfriend Was a French Bulldog

My Favorite Girlfriend Was a French Bulldog

Legna Rodríguez Iglesias, trans. from the Spanish by Megan McDowell. McSweeney’s, $22 (152p) ISBN 978-1-944211-77-6

This profound and delightful novel-in-stories by Cuban poet Iglesias, her English-language debut, is a breathtaking exploration of identity, country, art, and family. Iglesias’s narrator slips with ease into a different voice in each chapter, though they all retain facets of her consciousness. In “Politics,” the narrator explores her relationship with Cuba through the reminiscences of her dead grandfather. “Monster” is written in a heightened bureaucratic voice, a formal choice that makes concrete the narrator’s stress as she navigates the emigration process. The chapters that follow reveal different aspects of the narrator’s identity—an erudite queer woman; a U.S. émigré; a poet with a deep knowledge of literary and musical history, and an all-consuming affection for her darling French bulldog. While the narrator worries about “being no one” or “accepting, that you are no one here and now,” Iglesias’s voice is too sure, too fresh, and too in command of form to be overlooked. Iglesias’s distinctive style carries her narrator on an unforgettable journey of self-discovery through langage. [em]Agent: Austin Mueller, the Wiley Agency. (July) [/em]