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“Edgardo Rodríguez Juliá’s El entierro de Cortijo is already a classic in contemporary Puerto Rican literature—challenging, entertaining, and enlightening. It is a real joy to see Juan Flores’s translation of Rodríguez Juliá’s narrative into English. Flores—sensitive to tone, sound, idiom, and meaning—has done an excellent job. Cortijo’s music echoes through the text.”—Arcadio Díaz-Quiñones, Princeton University — N/A
“A highly entertaining account of the wake and burial of Rafael Cortijo. . . . [Edgardo Rodríguez Juliá’s] book mixes first-hand descriptions of places and people with extravagant helpings of personal opinion.”—Gerald Guinness, San Juan Star — N/A
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Winding through the streets of working-class San Juan with Cortijo’s funeral procession, Rodríguez Juliá’s autobiographical chronicle provides a rare portrait of the impoverished society from which Cortijo’s music emerged. Along with detailed renderings of grief-stricken mourners—including Cortijo’s childhood friend and fellow musician, the celebrated singer Ismael ("Maelo") Rivera—Rodríguez Juliá records his feelings as he, a light-skinned, middle-class writer, confronts the world of poor black Puerto Ricans. The author’s masterful shifting of linguistic registers, his acute sensitivity to Puerto Rican social codes, his broad knowledge of popular music, and his sardonic ruminations on death and immortality make this one of the most widely read books of modern Puerto Rican literature. Well-known critic and cultural historian Juan Flores has provided a scrupulous translation of Rodríguez Juliá’s text and an introduction situating the book in relation to Puerto Rican music and culture and the careers of Cortijo and Rodríguez Juliá.
Edgardo Rodríguez Juliá is a widely acclaimed Puerto Rican novelist. Among his many books are Sol de medianoche (1999), La noche oscura del Nino Avilés (1984), and La renuncia del héroe Baltasar (1974, translated into English in 1997 as The Renunciation). Since 1968, he has taught literature and writing at the University of Puerto Rico.
Juan Flores is Professor of Black and Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College and Professor of Sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is the author of a number of books including From Bomba to Hip-Hop: Puerto Rican Culture and Latino Identity and Divided Borders: Essays on Puerto Rican Identity.
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