Captain of the Sleepers

A Novel

Mayra Montero; Translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

For fifty years, Andres Yasin has carried a grudge against J.T. Bunker. Now, Bunker, eighty-two years old and dying of cancer, wants to tell his side of a story, a story of his affair with Andres's mother. As a child Andres knew Bunker as the "Captain of the Sleepers"-so called because he transported the bodies of those who had died off the island, but wished to be buried at home. But what really happened between Bunker and Andres's mother, between his mother and her next lover, a leader in the Puerto Rican Nationalistic Insurrection, and what were the actual circumstances of Andres's mother's mysterious death?

In this taut, erotic novel that slips effortlessly between past and present, remembrance and reality, Mayra Montero describes a feverish Caribbean childhood of secrets, disillusionment, and sexual awakening. Beautifully translated by Edith Grossman, The Captain of the Sleepers confirms Montero's stature as one of our finest prose stylists and as an international writer of the first rank.


Read an Excerpt

Excerpted from Captain of the Sleepers by Mayra Montero. Copyright © 2002 by Mayra Montero. Translation copyright © 2005 by Edith Grossman. Published in September 2005 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.

I'M in the last place on earth I'd like to be. Waiting for the last person in this life I thought I'd ever see again. It's almost six. I'm sipping beer at the bar of the Pink Fancy, a hotel on St. Croix where I arrived just a few minutes ago, carrying a small week end bag.
When I arrived I was registered by a woman who didn't stop laughing. She was young


Praise for Captain of the Sleepers

Praise for Mayra Montero:

Deep Purple
"Deceptively sweet...parodic and sneakily menacing..."--Lisa Ziedner, The New York Book Review

The Red of his Shadow
The Red of his Shadow is a powerful and important book...a ripping read, which most books that cut across cultures are not, and the story is seductive and glorious." --Amy Wilentz, Los Angeles Times Book Review: The Best Books of 2001

The Messenger
The Messenger is like having the best seat in the house at the opera: the characters and their tale haunt the reader long after the 'performance' is over." --Julia Alvarez, author of How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents and YO!

"A literary tour de force...A tale of unforgettable beauty."--Los Angeles Times

The Palm of Darkness
"A dazzling, original fugue on love and extinction"--The New Yorker

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Mayra Montero; Translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman

  • Mayra Montero is the author of a collection of short stories and seven novels, most of which are available in English. She was born in Cuba and lives in Puerto Rico.

    Edith Grossman is the translator of many books by Latin American and Spanish writers. She lives in New York City.
  • Mayra Montero Ingrid Torres


Available Formats and Book Details

Captain of the Sleepers

A Novel

Mayra Montero; Translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman