On Shelf Life on November 19, novelist Juli Delgado Lopera discussed their acclaimed new novel, Fiebre Tropical, with Catalina Esguerra. Lit by the hormonal neon glow of Miami, this heady, multilingual debut novel follows a Colombian teenager’s coming-of-age and coming out as she plunges headfirst into lust and evangelism. Watch the recording of the event here:
Uprooted from her comfortable life in Bogotá, Colombia, into an ant-infested Miami townhouse, fifteen-year-old Francisca is miserable and friendless in her strange new city. Her alienation grows when her mother is swept up into an evangelical church, replete with Christian salsa, abstinent young dancers, and baptisms for the dead.
But there, Francisca also meets the magnetic Carmen: opinionated and charismatic, head of the youth group, and the pastor’s daughter. As her mother’s mental health deteriorates and her grandmother descends into alcoholism, Francisca falls more and more intensely in love with Carmen. To get closer to her, Francisca turns to Jesus to be saved, even as their relationship hurtles toward a shattering conclusion.
We appreciate the support of our co-hosts for this event, Charlottesville Pride Community Network and the UVA LGBT Committee for Faculty and Staff.
“Glowing… a story about coming of age as a queer adolescent, an immigrant, a daughter, a bilingual kid, a complex human being, this book is fast-paced and energetic while also being heartfelt and captivating.”—Literary Hub
“Ebullient and assertive… Francisca’s soul stinks up the place beautifully in Fiebre Tropical.”—The New York Times
“Juli Delgado Lopera—remember that name—is an irreverent, shameless, and disarming new novelist. They are a merciless satirist in control of a pitch-perfect voice that makes an indisputable case for Spanglish as the perfect vehicle to express what we are really like right now.”—NBC News
“A layered portrait of exile, sexual awakening, and family bonds.”—The Millions
“Fiebre Tropical crackles and hums like neon, embedding contagious energy in the coming-of-age story of Francisca.”—Them