María Eugenia Mayobre
María Eugenia Mayobre (1976) was born in Caracas and grew up in Italy, France and Venezuela. She studied Social Communication in Caracas and obtained a Master’s Degree in Communication and Education in Barcelona, Spain. She moved to Boston in 2007, where she earned a Screenwriting Certificate from Emerson College. Her first feature-length script, Not Like Mom won the 2009 Emerson Annual Screenwriting Prize. Her short story Terrorista por Error was chosen to be published as part of a compilation titled: “V Semana de la Joven Narrativa Urbana” (2010). Another of her short stories, Cirilo y el Doctor, was published by the literary journal Label Me Latino/a (2012). Her short story Pero Bueno, Mariana, was selected to be published in the book “Nos Pasamos de la Raya vol.2/We Crossed the Line vol.2”. Her first novel still unpublished is Ese nombre que nunca fui (now titled as Biting the Guava) won the I Bienal de Novela de Ediciones B Venezuela. María Eugenia lives in Boston and works as a producer for a news program broadcasted in Spanish, French, German and Italian.
Biting the Guava (El mordisco de la guayaba)
Plaza&Janés / 160 pages
Rights acquired by:
Plaza & Janés / Penguin Random House (World Spanish)
NiL Éditions / Robert Laffont (France).
“Julia had a passion for tropical fruits, awakening in her a certain voluptuousness that Europe had kept asleep. And it’s no wonder. In Italy, from the time she opened her eyes until she shut them, all she saw were religious images that reminded her of her transience and her sins. Tropical fruits, on the other hand, lured her in to admire, smell, suck, lick, and to chop them up into little pieces. The first time she ate a mango, Julia discovered that Genesis according to the Bible made no sense. The common apple was just too boring, impossible to make someone fall into temptation. On the other hand, the soursop, the passion fruit, the coconut… When she discovered these fruits of the tropics, Julia stopped believing blindly in what the holy book of her youth had told her.”
A single bite of guava spawned the original sin of this unusual Latin American family. A sin, in the form of a man, that would drive four generations of cultured and intelligent women mad.
The story begins with the death of the poet.
The protagonist narrator, a woman split into two identities (“Primitiva” and “Mulatona”), aware that her descent into madness has just begun, decides to tell the story of her family in an effort to explain how it was possible that all the women that came before her went mad because of the same man.
Her great grandmother Yolanda went mad on the day the poet was born, believing the child was the reincarnation of her first love; a belief which was absurd, among other things, for the simple fact that her first love was still alive at the time.
Grandmother Cornelia raised the poet in her image until the little devil, then age 6, caused the death of her first daughter, and the boy and his mother went back to Italy.
When the poet, age 20, returned to Latin America, he found his mentor trapped, at 34, in a marriage devoid of passion and partnership, so partnership and passion he gave her. He did the same for any woman in town who lacked either of these.
When Cornelia, the grandmother, went mad upon witnessing a scene far more intense than she could bear, the destiny of her two daughters became irrevocably entwined with that of the poet.
This remarkable family saga is narrated in parallel with the growth of Primitiva Serapio, from the time that she was no more than a scrawny little girl, tormented at school, until she reinvented herself, following her traumatic first communion, as the voluptuous and always confident Mulatona Montiel, a superheroine that hides in her shell at the worst times, the times when the weak Primitiva needs her most.