Release Date: October 11, 2022
About The Book:
María Isidra is a proper Catholic girl raised in 1960s Spain by a strong matriarch during a repressive dictatorship. Early sexual trauma and a hefty dose of fear keep her in line for much of her childhood, but also lead her to live a double life. In her home, there is no discussing the needs of her growing body. In the street, kissing in public is forbidden.
Upon the dictator’s death in 1975, Spain bursts wide open, giving way to democracy and a cultural revolution. Barcelona’s vibrant downtown and its new freedoms seduce María Isidra. She dives into a world of activism, communal living, literature, counterculture, open sexuality, and alcohol.
And yet she knows something is missing. Longing to reconnect with her body—from which she has felt estranged since childhood—she finds a surprising home in a rundown salsa club, where the lush rhythm sparks a deep wave of healing. Transformed, she sets off on a series of sexual and romantic misadventures, in search for what she has always found painfully elusive: true intimacy.
Promenade of Desire is a rich journey into the life of a woman once contained, who finds a way to set herself free.
About The Author:
Originally from Spain, Isidra Mencos holds a PhD in Spanish Contemporary Literature from the University of California, Berkeley, where she taught for twelve years. After a ten-year stint as a corporate executive, in 2016 she quit her job to focus on writing. Since then her pieces have been widely published and she’s been listed as a Notable Essayist in The Best American Essays Anthology. Promenade of Desire is her debut memoir. Isidra is available for book clubs in person or via Zoom.
“A brave and unblinkingly honest portrait of a young woman’s sensual and sexual awakening in the face of censure and repression, and her refusal to be held back by the constraints of her family, culture, and religion. The same joyful spirit that expresses itself in Mencos’ love of dancing shines through in her story of her own personal dance into a brave new world beyond the one her mother prescribed for her. Her story is shameless, in the very best sense of the word.” —Joyce Maynard, New York Times best-selling author of Labor Day, To Die For, and Count The Ways
“Mencos makes Spain come alive with vivid descriptions of the tastes of food and the salsa music that enabled her to move freely in dance clubs and eventually to let loose in other ways. She draws deft parallels between her experiences and the opening of Spanish society post-Franco as attitudes toward sex and culture changed. … Her immersive approach makes it easy to imagine the author moving through history, navigating its mores and milestones. A lush memoir and richly detailed exploration of a pivotal era in Spain.”—Kirkus Reviews
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