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Latin Moon In Manhattan

The Colombian-born poet Jaime Manrique Ardila has written a novel called Latin Moon In Manhattan, one with a Colombian-born poet protagonist living in Times Square with his cat with an enlarged heart, Mr. O’Donnell. The relationship between Santiago Martinez and Mr. O’Donnell serves as the framing device for the novel, one populated with enough oddities of Times Square life to resemble a psychedelic freak show sponsored by P. T. Barnum. The novel is engaging because it of its existential optimism, rarely two words which go side by side without being an oxymoron. As Santiago tries to finish his epic poem on Christopher Columbus, he attempts to find some meaning in his life—a life which is given stability and meaning through his close relationship with his very humanized roommate, Mr. O’Donnell.

Santiago and Mr. O’Donnell share a similar history. When Santiago was a small child whose father had abandoned him and whose mother welcomed more gentleman callers than Blanche DuBois ever dreamed of entertaining, he used to long for some loving couple to magically appear and adopt him. Likewise, Mr. O’Donnell was rescued by Rebecca, Santiago’s neighbor, and adopted by Santiago, “As the person who had found Mr. O’Donnell in the alley, she had taken the role of adoptive mother and she too had grown to love him” (Manrique 187-188).

Santiago and Mr. O’Donnell have a relationship built on mutual respect and affection. While Santiago is sure that Mr. O’Donnell needs him, Mr. O’Donnell is just as certain that he takes care of Santiago. In actuality, Mr. O’Donnell is a repository for all the displaced emotions, affections, and lack of understanding in Santiago’s life. As Claudia, the dyke who the gay Santiago’s mother wants him to marry, explains to him, “And the way you love that cat of yours. That tells me you have good parental instincts. When we get marries you’ll have your own child to love ins...

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Latin Moon In Manhattan. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 14:43, March 18, 2019, from