The Naked Woman
The Naked Woman
A woman’s feminist awakening drives a hypocritical village to madness in rural Uruguay.
Translated by Kit Maude
Afterword by Elena Chavez Goycochea
When The Naked Woman was originally published in 1950, critics doubted a woman writer could be responsible for its shocking erotic content. In this searing critique of Enlightenment values, fantastic themes are juxtaposed with brutal depictions of misogyny and violence, and frantically build to a fiery conclusion.
Finally available to an English-speaking audience, Armonía Somers will resonate with readers of Clarice Lispector, Djuna Barnes, and Leonora Carrington.
"A wild, brutal paean to freedom. . . . Somers' feminism is profound, and complicated." —NPR
“This short yet undeniably powerful take on the viciousness of the male ego exposes the soft underbelly of 'civil society,' showing that just beneath the surface is man’s base animal nature. Somers’s novel is a surreal, gripping experience.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A lusciously brutal resurrected classic.”—Kirkus Reviews
"[This] slim novel packs a major wallop."—Brooklyn Rail
“I am so grateful that a new generation will be able to read this surreal, nightmarish book about women’s struggle for autonomy—and how that struggle is (always, inevitably) met with violence.” —Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties
“The extraordinary power of The Naked Woman lies in the mysterious sensation of a metaphor whose meaning is being suspended. Like all literary greats, Somers offers no answers, she just amplifies the questions.” —Andrés Barba, author of Such Small Hands
“A fiery, imaginative meditation on the reach of embodied consciousness, The Naked Woman is a timely translation of a Latin American hidden jewel. Wild and brilliant, Somers speaks to us in the here and now of our troubled present." —Cristina Rivera Garza, author of The Iliac Crest
“Too strange and scandalous for her time, Armonía Somers is a feminist legend.” —Lina Meruane, author of Seeing Red
“Armonía Somers is an extraordinary writer whose erotic fairy-tale world is akin to that of Angela Carter. Thanks to Kit Maude’s perceptive rendering, the English-speaking reader can now discover one of the most original, and unfairly neglected, Latin American authors of the past century.” —Alberto Manguel, author of A History of Reading
“This short but savage novel is essential reading. Hallucinatory, surreal, and beautifully brutal. Like a dream-vision that gets under your skin.” —Julianne Pachico, author of The Lucky Ones
“If you love weird stories about powerful women throwing off clothes and conventions, you’ll want to pick this book up right away.” —Paperback Paris
“Its language explodes and sparkles and it is continuously open to astonishing images. . . . The Naked Woman works both as a visionary linguistic experience, and an allegory of the female body’s dark powers.” —Full Stop
Interested in teaching this book in your classroom or reading it with your book club? Download an educator’s guide and discussion questions here!