Ask AfterEllen.com (April 14, 2009)

Want to know the status of a particular movie, TV show, or band? Wondering what a certain actress is up to these days? Send your entertainment-related questions to askafterellen@gmail.com — with your first name, city and country — and we’ll try to answer as many as we can.

Question: Memory Mambo by Achy Obejas is such a good book.  It ends rather abruptly though, as if there is room for a sequel.  Is there a sequel coming?

— LilyJadeRose, South Carolina, USA

Achy Obejas

Answer: Achy Obejas’s 1996 award-winning novel Memory Mambo, about Juani Casas, a Cuban-born American lesbian, was a big hit (read our review here) and definitely begged for a follow-up. We sent your question to Brenda Knight, the associate publisher at Cleis Press, and she told us, "We do not have any plans for a sequel."

But she did point us to the recent coverage of Obejas’ new piece of fiction, Ruins, in the New York Times Book Review. The novel ( "No relation to Memory Mambo, darn it" per Knight) is set in 1994 Cuba after the fall of the Soviet Union and is about "a true believer" who is "faced with a choice between love for his family and the Cuban Revolution."

According to her bio statement, Obejas "has received a Pulitzer for a Tribune team investigation, the Studs Terkel Journalism Prize, several Peter Lisagor journalism honors, two Lambda Literary awards, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in poetry, and residencies at Yaddo, Ragdale and the Virginia Center for the Arts, among other honors."

She’s currently the Sor Juana Writer in Residence at DePaul University in Chicago and also writes about Latin music for the Washington Post and about books for In These Times.

Question: I was wondering what was up with Sarah Michelle Gellar‘s movie Veronika Decides to Die. The last of her movies have seemed to just blow away in the wind, and as this movie is modeled after Paulo Coelho’s book, I don’t want the same thing to happen to it. 

Mia S, Louisiana

Answer: Sarah Michelle Gellar (who recently announced her pregnancy) stars in the cinematic version of Coelho’s international bestseller about a woman who decides to kill herself and, upon surviving, discovers a will to live. The film began shooting on May 12, 2008 and is directed by Emily Young (Kiss of Life). It also stars Johnathon Tucker, David Thewlis, Melissa Leo and Erika Christensen. According to IMDB.com, the release date is November 2009.

You can watch scenes from the film at the official site, or watch the trailer below:


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