Juan Cárdenas

NOVEL | 2015 | 176 pages

Ornamento tells the encounter between a scientist and a group of volunteer women who serve as guinea pigs to test a new leisure drug that only works on women. Among them, there is a special case, a strange woman that goes by the name of Number 4 and who becomes emotionally involved with the scientist and his wife—a prestigious artist in the midst of a creative crisis. The irruption of Number 4 in the lives of this couple has a devastating and corrosive effect on their certainties, built from a position of social and economic privilege.

Ornamento is a novel written in an addictive prose, a journey into the heart of evil, an exploration of the societies founded in hate as well as a horror novel that tries to figure out in which measure the individuals are intimately crossed by the political history. Ornamento is a provocation to the readers, so that they can think in the possibilities of art as an ideal field to examine the evils that have enchanted us.


RIGHTS: spanish EDITORIAL PERIFÉRICA I spanish (colombia) TUSQUETS I spanish (mexico) ALMADÍA I spanish (bolivia) DUM DUM | italian SUR | english (USA) COFFEE HOUSE PRESS

In this disquieting dystopia, impeccably translated by Lizzie Davis, the prose of Juan Cárdenas surpasses the beauty promised by the sinister drug of happiness. A very subtle, smart book indeed.
— Alia Trabucco Zerán
Ornamento is a novel dense in ideas, witty in its style (with such brilliant formulas as the reference to a “baroque of drug barons”) and close to the prophetic in its denouncing speech.
— Nadal Suau, El Cultural
Cárdenas has one of the sharpest and most precise prose of the current Spanish-speaking literature. His prose knows how to move out seconds from a bare surgery of the sexual baroque into the extreme contention of the unchained poetry in spite of preserving some restraint. The irony used to describe the mechanisms of neocapitalism is simply brutal.
— Jorge Carrión, Otra Parte
A novel of high density – in terms of ideas, plot, language – Ornamento is the confirmation that Juan Cárdenas is one of the most interesting writers in the Spanish language today.
— Daniel Saldaña París, Tierra Adentro
Juan Cárdenas has conceived a maddeningly delightful, genuinely literary novel.
— José de María Romero, Revista de Letras
In this story Cárdenas manages once again to describe a Latin American stage in detail without mentioning places or countries: just the attitudes and accents of its characters.
— Verónica Figueroa, El País



BY JUAN CÁRDENAS: El diablo de las provincias NOVEL, 2017 Ornamento NOVEL, 2015 Los estratos NOVEL, 2013 Zumbido NOVEL, 2010 Carreras delictivas STORIES, 2006