Diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma three weeks after his thirtieth birthday, Juan Alvarado Valdivia finds himself immersed in Cancerlandia—oncology appointments, waiting rooms, and chemotherapy infusions at San Francisco General Hospital. Afraid that the illness will destroy his fledgling relationship and writing aspirations, Alvarado Valdivia tries to lead a normal life. He bikes three miles to his treatments while listening to heavy metal, attends writing workshops, and continues his hard-partying ways. When his girlfriend Paola ends their on-again, off-again relationship after a particularly troubling episode of binge drinking, he begins to acknowledge his anger and alcohol abuse.
Comic and unsparing, ¡Cancerlandia! chronicles Alvarado Valdivia’s journey as he not only fights to survive his personified adversary, Mr. Hodgkins, but also struggles with his own self-destructive spirit.
Juan Alvarado Valdivia is a Peruvian American writer who was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. He received his MFA in creative writing from Saint Mary’s College of California. He lives in Oakland with his wife.
“Juan Alvarado Valdivia is a writer to watch. He has ignited his engines and is burning his way into high orbit. I am a great admirer of this book, and it makes me impatient for the books to come.”
— Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Hummingbird’s Daughter