Promenade of Desire: A Barcelona Memoir
Isidra Mencos (Author)
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Description"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
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.
She Writes Press
October 11, 2022
5.5 X 8.4 X 1.1 inches | 0.95 pounds
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About the Author
Isidra Mencos was born and raised in Barcelona. She spent her twenties experimenting with the new freedoms afforded by the end of Franco's dictatorship in Spain, bouncing from man to man and job to job while immersing herself in books and dancing. She freelanced for prestigious publishing houses, traveled the world as a tour leader, and worked for the Olympic Committee. In 1992 she moved to the US to earn a PhD in Spanish and Latin American contemporary literature at UC Berkeley, where she taught for twelve years. She also developed her own business as a writer and editor for Spanish-speaking media. From 2006 to 2016 she worked as Editorial Director of the Americas for BabyCenter, the leading global digital resource for parents, and managed teams in several countries. In 2016 she quit her job to dedicate herself to writing. Her work has appeared in The Chicago Quarterly Review, Front Porch Journal, The Penmen Review, WIRED, The Huffington Post, and Better After Fifty among others. Her essay "My Books and I" was listed as Notable in The Best American Essays Anthology. Today Isidra lives in Northern California with her husband and son.