Miguel is beautiful. His beauty is so rare and miraculous that it has made him the object of cult-like devotion in the city. Santiago, his older brother, watches with a mix of admiration and disquiet the prodigious effect that Miguel’s looks have on his mother and father, on passersby, their neighbors, and the droves of female suitors that follow him everywhere. He loves his little brother but ends up living in his shadow. With Miguel constantly under the spotlight, Santiago is left to inhabit darker, hidden places, from where he will finally learn that life is not easy for anyone, even his prodigiously handsome brother.
Set in Mexico, this story shines at every turn with the mythical light of magical realism. The conflict between brothers, the role of the parents, the loves, the violence, the journeys are presented with realism and deep psychological insight yet possess an aura of legend. Disappointments, flights, regrets, reunions, goodbyes, epiphanies make up this story, as we follow the two brothers, their family, the women they love, and the people around them—all forever marked, each in their own way, by their extraordinary encounter with Beauty.
Massimo Cuomo was born in Venice in 1974 and lives in Portogruaro, in a house that is closer to the countryside than to the city. He is the author of three novels and teaches creative writing to inmates of the Rieti prison in Italy. Beautiful is his first book to appear in English.