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Eyewear Publishing

A Petit Mal

A Petit Mal

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By Ana Caballero

Memoir / Medical Essay


The Winner of The International Beverly Prize For Literature.

When Ana Maria Caballero’s young son is diagnosed with epilepsy, her family collides with the reality of illness, but also with Western medicine. A Petit Mal follows the narrative arc of this blunt collision, one that plunges its readers into multiple alternative methods of healing and the spiritual implications therein. Caballero’s boldly innovative book unfolds as a page-turner, one whose topics are especially relevant to audiences interested in wellness, not as yet another banner, but as a committed, practical approach to life.

Ana Maria Caballero is a first-generation Colombian-American poet and artist. Her first book of poetry, Entre domingo y domingo, won Colombia’s José Manuel Arango National Poetry Prize and was second place in the nationwide Ediciones Embajales Prize. She graduated with a magna cum laude degree from Harvard University and has been a runner-up for the Academy of Amercian Poets Prize. A Petit Mal was awarded the International Beverly Prize and was also a finalist for the Kurt Brown Prize, the Tarpaulin Sky Press Book Awards, the Essay Press Prize, the Split/Lip Press reading cycle and longlisted for the 2022 Memoir Prize.

Caballero’s A Petit Mal is a brilliant genre-defying work in which the poetic and the scientific merge and construct each other. Its ingenious use of language and imagery convey deep philosophical and spiritual questions. A book to read and reread - Richard Blanco, U.S. Presidential Inaugural Poet

I can't tell you what A Petit Mal is about exactly. Motherhood, illness, spirituality – yes. Suffering, healing, consciousness itself… I want to say, "If you love Jenny Boully's work and Eula Biss' work and Brenda Miller's work, you'll love Ana Maria Caballero's work" – and you will! – but then I'd hasten to add, "You've never read anything quite like this before", A Petit Mal is lyric essay-qua-memoir-qua-illness narrative-qua-poetic meditation-qua-new genres in the making. Above all, this is a rapturous, innovative, and wholly sui generis project. - Julie Marie Wade, author of Wishbone: A Memoir in Fractures and Just an Ordinary Woman Breathing.

Every event, no matter how painful or challenging it can be, gives us an opportunity to learn, helps us see things in a different way and eventually transforms us. The experiences, anecdotes and stories depicted in A Petit Mal did all that for me. They made me laugh, cry and think, but most important, they gave me hope. Ana María’s use of language, interior monologues and her fantastic poetic prose make A Petit Mal a must read for everyone who enjoys good literature. - Dr. Camilo Cruz, best Selling author and public speaker

Caballero's writing is so intense, multi-layered, and complex, I found myself holding my breath while reading A Petit Mal. - Reyna Grande, author of The Distance Between Us and A Dream Called Home


It’s fragmented, poetic, includes sketches, pictures, DMs, medical records, and oscillates between prose, science, literature, math, and prayer. And it is a cohesive and coherent, beautifully crafted workAmy Goldmacher
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