Countries of Origin: a novel by Javier Fuentes
Hardback. Penguin Random House. 2022. New.
This stunning debut chronicles a tumultuous, passionate love affair between two young men from vastly different worlds during one, extraordinary summer in Spain, in what is ultimately a meditation on identity, class, belonging and desire.
“Full of so many pleasures—literary, culinary, amorous… Fuentes has created something beautiful, honest, heartbreaking and hopeful.” —Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Less Is Lost
It is 2007, and twenty-four-year-old Demetrio is a celebrated pastry chef in New York at the French restaurant Le Bourrelet. This will be his seventh year as the pâtissier and the chef-owner, stern but paternal, feels he should move on. When Demetrio is offered a position as head of pastries at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York, he wants nothing more than to accept it.
But as an undocumented immigrant he is terrified that he will be found out, so Demetrio makes the difficult decision to return permanently to his homeland which he has not seen since he was a small child. It will mean leaving the only family he knows—his beloved uncle Chus who has brought him up. On his flight to Madrid, Demetrio sits next to the handsome, playful, and sensitive Jacobo, a student at NYU going home to his aristocratic, fascist family and there is an instant, unacknowledged electricity between them.
In dimly lit bars in Madrid and on pebbled beaches by the sea far outside the city, Demetrio and Jacobo’s subtle but intense relationship unfolds. Demetrio is tortured by a fear of true intimacy and by anxiety about their class difference. Both are struggling with their identities and sexuality, and they avoid their true feelings until a family tragedy sets them on a collision course back into one another’s lives.
Countries of Origin is powerfully sensual and moving. Javier Fuentes takes you on a journey that will immerse you in the intense and heartbreaking emotions and conflicts of love and loss.