Eugenia Blanc, a young Caraqueñan and quintessential teenager at war with the world around her, has one aim: after graduating from high school, to abandon Venezuela definitively. She embarks on a spontaneous road trip in a banged-up Fiat with her rebellious classmate Luis Tévez, in search of her grandfather, the one person who can provide her with the documents that would allow her to leave the country. While Eugenia and Luis’s tentative, troubled romance unfolds during the Chávez era, the story also looks back at Venezuela’s “lost decade” of the 1990s, a time of intractable violence, inequality, corruption, and instability that led to Chávez’s election. With an unvarnished fluidity that brings to mind Jack Kerouac and a crazy-ass playlist that ranges from REM to Bob Dylan to El Canto del Loco to Shakira, Blue Label is an audacious, dark novel with a gut-punch of an ending; the prize-winning first book by a writer who has cemented his reputation as a major young Latin American voice.
Eduardo Sánchez Rugeles (Caracas, 1977) is a fiction writer, screenwriter, and teacher. He has published five novels: Blue Label/Etiqueta Azul (2010), winner of the Arturo Uslar Pietri award for Latin American literature and shortlisted for the Critics Award of Venezuela; Transylvania, Unplugged (2011), shortlisted for the Arturo Uslar Pietri award for Latin American literature; Liubliana (2012), honorable mention, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Bicentennial Literary Award, and winner of the Critics Award of Venezuela; Jezebel (2013); and Julián (2014). He presently lives in Madrid.
Paul Filev is a Melbourne-based literary translator and editor. He translates from Macedonian and Spanish. He was awarded a Literary Translation Fellowship by Dalkey Archive Press in 2015. His translations from Macedonian include Vera Bužarovska’s The Last Summer in the Old Bazaar (Saguaro Books, 2015) and Sasho Dimoski’s Alma Mahler (Dalkey Archive Press, 2018).