Pretty, twenty-year-old Mariposa has entered the U.S. from Honduras by way of Nuevo Laredo, without documentation. She now serves drinks and woos customers as a B-girl--sort of a dime-a-dance arrangement--in a shabby nightclub on the east side of Austin, Texas. Rough work, it's at least giving her a start in America.
Between the norteno and cumbia songs the DJ plays, a smooth-talking Anglo out-of-towner who calls himself Bill shows up at the club one Saturday night to sit and casually chat with Mariposa. He smiles and sympathizes; his flattery leads her to reveal the secret pain she has kept hidden so long. But Mariposa has no way of knowing that he's being hunted by police throughout the Southwest.
Even in Austin, far from the border, there are dangers more sinister than narcotraficantes or la migra.
LaSalle's intense, haunting novel beckons readers into the shadowy lives of undocumented workers in the U.S. and the difficult choices they must face. Written as a single book-length sentence, Mariposa's Song is also a truly innovative achievement in the novel form itself, as it continually startles and satisfies with stylistic daring and sheer lyrical radiance.
Peter LaSalle is the author of several books of fiction, including the novel Strange Sunlight and, most recently, a story collection, Tell Borges If You See Him. His work has appeared in magazines and anthologies such as Tin House, Zoetrope, Paris Review, Best American Mystery Stories, and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. He has taught at universities in this country and in France, and in 2005 he received the Award for Distinguished Prose from the Antioch Review. He lives in Austin, Texas.