Back in the XV century, homosexuality was censored and persecuted in Europe. Beauvis, however, an attractive young man who is part of Christopher Columbus’ crew on their 1492 expedition, becomes a male prostitute. Being discreet, Beauvis and his customers build an ongoing business relationship. The plenty of sexually explicit encounters help us dive into this world of his, while we see his innocence transmute into mastery.
From the darkness of harassment to the colourful joy of unrestrained sex, we visit a realistic medieval society and some of the most important historical events that took place around that time: the discovery of “the New World”, the French invasion of Naples, the Syphilis outbreak in Europe, etc.
This compelling story guides us through a reality that we don’t often think of: homosexuality and prostitution existed during medieval times too. More than an apology to such behaviours, this novel is a celebration of pride in what being a sex worker is, and an exhortation to embrace bisexuality.
In the late 2000’s, Roberto and his Latino family flee Tijuana, Mexico, and settle in San Diego, California, escaping from the powerful Mexican Mafia. Due to Roberto’s exceptional intelligence, his family encourage him to pursue his Bachelor at the University of the South Coast, a prestigious institution in their new city. With his outstanding performance in varsity swimming, he is able to land a scholarship and grants to pay for his tuition for some years.
Due to budget cuts, he loses his bursary. He finds in sex work a means to continue to pay for his studies; his attractiveness makes him thrive in that business. Roberto tries to conceal his new profession from his conservative Latino family and from his life in academia. But his sex work taking place right on campus attracts a secret party’s attention, which begins to harass him and to threaten him with disclosing his double life. Afraid of being expelled from school, banned from all universities, and disowned by his family, he tries to negotiate with the extortionists, whose aggression becomes fiercer over time. Moreover, an unfortunate coincidence makes him be prosecuted and taken to court, making it even harder to keep his business a secret. He doubts whether he should give up his whole life, live under the imposed rules of those terrorists, or fight back for an acquittal and retrieve whatever is left of his life.
The storyline begins as a crude depiction of the persecution, harassment, and condemnation that homosexual and bisexual men, let alone male prostitutes, experience when they live that double life. The sporadic glimmers of hope are fleeting and pale in comparison with the terror Roberto lives under. That enthralling and obscure environment drags us into a world of outrage, desperation, and alienation. We are then trapped in a moral dilemma: “Should I sympathise with him or be against him?” As we go through the story, we learn the facts and are free to take our own stance.
I have always loved art. Sculpture, architecture, literature, painting, music, performing, and films. I don’t have much talent for visual arts but I learnt music at a young age. From all instruments I tried, it is piano the one I loved the most. And most importantly, piano loved me. I am not an expert but I can play comfortably. There are those who say that you don’t get to choose what instrument to play; it chooses you. Piano chose me, as I can be rather cold and distant. It is not my intent but simply the way it happens to be, as my own mind is often somewhere else.
I have always been a big fan of all arts, as a spectator. We all are, to a certain degree. Who doesn’t enjoy reading, or watching a good film? But to me, arts are not a simple thing to appreciate from afar. When I play music, I get transported to another place. I feel the music through my veins. It is very hard to describe the magic of how the author of music compositions can still talk through time, using music as his voice.
There are three levels of proximity when it comes to music. The most distant one is to listen to it. As we approach, we play music. There is another stage from there, one that not many people dare to explore: composing. I always wished I could get as close to art as possible. Being music the only art I had ventured into, composing music seemed like the only way to get closer to art. I never felt like that was my path, though. I still feel it isn’t my path: there is no burning sensation inside my soul when I think of it.
One day I woke up, and my soul was entranced. I had discovered a way to be a composer. It felt like there had always been an angel trying to talk to me and it had finally been able to. He was willing to invite me to the arts. He wanted me to utilise my ancestors’ heritage, language, to create something beautiful with it. And I had a story to tell; I have a story to tell.
I once learnt to play guitar, piano, violin, trumpet, and saxophone. I have a new instrument today: it is black and white, and mute. I am intoxicated with it. My first 100,000 words are only the beginning of a precious long symphony I am writing. A beautiful composition in perfect harmony by using words only. A cadence dictated by paragraphs and signs. I have become the director of a precious piece.
That stereotype of a writer comes from the time when there was a need to carry a manuscript and vague notes in different colours. In this new world of ours, we no longer need to do so. And neither do we need to spend time in the middle of wild nature to get inspired. Inspiration is that feeling that 24 hours per day are not enough to devote to writing your concert. Writers are us: normal-looking persons, in whose busy minds are happening the most fascinating stories, ready to become a parallel reality for readers to enjoy.
I have always had a great interest in languages and everything around them: the culture, the history, linguistics in general. When I was younger, I used to hear all the time that “Spanish was one of the most difficult languages due to the very high number of words it has.” To my dismay, I once learnt the truth: there are no more words in Spanish than there are in English. Furthermore, English is truly rich in other ways too.
Yes. Spanish is magnificent in that it allows users to play with structures as to twist the meaning of phrases. It is said to be the language to “talk to God.” You can say the ‘same idea’ with different emphasis by simply playing with the word order. Hence, you can say “I love languages”, “languages I love”, “I (myself) love languages.” Mind that the last example represents the addition of the pronoun “I”, while it is usually dropped in Spanish.
On the other hand, however, Spanish doesn’t have many words. It is very jealous of its own words and they can’t be imported easily. Now, let’s take a look at English. You can turn any noun into a verb playfully: “I will school you how to do it”, “I want to house my boat here.” The words are naturally playful: “Writers be like,” “You ain’t my father”, “Gimme that.” The poor conjugation system makes pretty much any word easy to be used in English regardless of being such word a verb or not: “Please taco your food with this tortilla”, “Photo that car before it leaves!”
While all these examples are, indeed, not how proper English is used, they are handy examples to demonstrate the scope of what a user can do using the English language. There are those who will police the inappropriate use of the language, but let’s remember what a language is: a means of communication. It isn’t a means of conveying one’s own advanced grammar knowledge, and neither is it a means of demonstrating a high level education.
Even without the structural flexibility, English is a magnificent language too. It way richer than Spanish is. There is a reason for which Vladimir Nabokov, native Russian speaker, once preferred one very famous novel of his in English, than in Russian. It isn’t about comparing what language is better than the others. It is about noting that any language is magnificent when taking advantage of what it has to offer.
I am writing a rhapsody: my novel. And I have chosen my instrument to be English. I will utilise all its intricate composition to make the most out of it, as one famous Russian writer once did. Those who, like me, learnt English as their second language are privileged, for we can bring the best features of our mother tongue and those of our second one to create marvelous literary work.