Teresa Ruiz Rosas

Peru

© Gover van Eeden

 

 

Teresa Ruiz Rosas was born in Arequipa, Peru in 1956. She studied literature and linguistics in Arequipa, Budapest, Barcelona and Freiburg and was a finalist for the 1994 Premio Herralde de Novela and the 1999 Juan Rulfo prize for short stories, awarded by the Instituto Cervantes in Paris. Alongside her writing, she also translates German and Hungarian literature into Spanish. Ruiz Rosas lives in Cologne.

 

The novel La mujer cambiada (“The Altered Woman”) is set in Lima at the end of the 1990s. The attractive Elvira Peña turns up at the most prestigious beauty clinic on the square with an unusual request: she insists that they alter her face so radically that no one will recognise her. The clinic's assistant manager Gerardo Bustíos, used to simply improving and rejuvenating his clients is confused. But he agrees to Elvira's request, because he finds her fascinating. She tells him of her plans for a clinic for people who urgently need treatment but can't afford to pay for it. This touches a sore point in him, as the dull routine of the beauty clinic has taken him far away from his ideals, and he finds himself trying to persuade his patients against surgery, which so enrages the management that they consider suspending him.

Bustíos decides to set up the clinic Cara a Cara (Face to Face) along with Elvira, treating victims of accidents and violent attacks. Celebrating the clinic's second anniversary, one of the guests, a former lieutenant, recognises Elvira Peña as the lover of the scientist Felipe Arréstegui, who disappeared many years ago. Elvira, whose real name is Etelvina, had been trying in vain for years to find out what happened to Felipe. Finally, she had to assume that the terrorist organisation Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) had kidnapped and killed him, and she lived in permanent fear of being abducted herself. She was just as scared of her increasingly violent ex-husband, and decided to adapt a new identity. The former lieutenant reveals the terrible truth: it was not Sendero Luminoso that tortured and killed her lover, but the military – on behalf of her vengeful exhusband.

Set against a love story between the poverty-stricken Felipe and the well-situated Elvira, who marries a man of her class to please her parents, Teresa Ruiz Rosas takes the reader into a dark chapter of Peruvian history, marked by the hate and violence of a long civil war with consequences lasting to the present day. Yet the skilled author has also written an engaging and entertaining book.

 

 

Novels:

 

El copista

Barcelona: Anagrama 1994, 126 p.

German:           Ammann 1996

Netherlands:     Wereldbibliothek 1998

 

La falaz posteridad

Lima (Peru only): Ed. San Marcos 2007, 368 p.

 

La mujer cambiada

Lima(Peru only): Ed. San Marcos 2008, 164 p.

Germany: Ralf Liebe Verlag

 

Wer fragt schon nach 'Kuhle Wampe.'

Von der Liebe und anderen Gemeinheiten

Weilerswist: Ralf Liebe Verlag 2008, 320 p.

 

Stories:

 

El desván

Arequipa: La Campana Catalina 1989, 112 p.

German:Gallucci Verlag 1990

 

Detrás de la Calle Toledo

Lima: Antares Artes & Letras 2004, 84 p. (trilingual: English, German, Spanish)

 

Das Porträt hat Dich geblendet

Bonn: Free Pen Verlag 2005, 192 p.

(bilingual: German, Spanish)

 

 

Participation in anthologies:

 

Novel of the world

Italy: Fondazione Arnoldo e Alberto Mondadori 2015