Longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award
Gritty and unflinching, yet also tender, fantastical, and funny, a trans woman’s tale about finding a community on the margins.
In Sarmiento Park, the green heart of Córdoba, a group of trans sex workers make their nightly rounds. When a cry comes from the dark, their leader, the 178-year-old Auntie Encarna, wades into the brambles to investigate and discovers a baby half dead from the cold. She quickly rallies the pack to save him, and they adopt the child into their fascinating surrogate family as they have so many other outcasts, including Camila.
Sheltered in Auntie Encarna’s fabled pink house, they find a partial escape from the everyday threats of disease and violence, at the hands of clients, cops, and boyfriends. Telling their stories—of a mute young woman who transforms into a bird, of a Headless Man who fled his country’s wars—as well as her own journey from a toxic home in a small, poor town, Camila traces the life of this vibrant community throughout the 90s.
Imbuing reality with the magic of a dark fairy tale, Bad Girls offers an intimate, nuanced portrait of trans coming-of-age that captures a universal sense of the strangeness of our bodies. It grips and entertains us while also challenging ideas about love, sexuality, gender, and identity.