Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Fiction Literary


by (author) Elizabeth Ruth

Cormorant Books
Initial publish date
Mar 2013
Literary, Lesbian, Historical
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2013
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2013
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


Set in Spain and Mexico during the 1930s, Matadora tells the story of Luna Caballero Garcia, an impoverished and intrepid servant attempting to make her name in the bullring at a time when it was illegal for a girl to do so. Matadora carries readers from bohemian artistic circles in Mexico City and Andalusia to Norman Bethune's mobile blood transfusions on the Madrid front.


Against a backdrop of rising fascism and the Spanish Civil War, Elizabeth Ruth has created a powerful and compelling exploration of love, art, and politics, and an intelligent mirror for our times.


Boldly sensual, with a cast of unforgettable characters and a plot that will keep readers on the edge of their seats, Matadora is easily one of the most original books of the year.

About the author

Elizabeth Ruth is a writer, editor, creative writing instructor and mother living in Toronto, Canada. Her first novel, Ten Good Seconds of Silence was a finalist for the Writers' Trust of Canada Fiction Prize, the Best First Novel Award and the City of Toronto Book Award. Her critically acclaimed second novel, Smoke, was chosen for the 2007 One Book One Community program. Elizabeth Ruth's third novel - about a female bullfighter - will be published in Canada in fall 2012 by Cormorant Books. 

Elizabeth is well known for her mentorship of aspiring writers. She teaches at the University of Toronto, and through the Humber School for Writers. In 2011 Elizabeth held the position of Writer-In-Residence at the Toronto Public Library. Elizabeth has also held the position of Writer-In-Residence at the Oshawa and Kitchener Public Libraries. In recent years, Elizabeth has mentored middle and high school English students through WIER, Writers in Electronic Residence. In 2011 she delivered workshops and offered manuscript evaluations to writers across northern Ontario. In 2012, together with Ann Douglas, Elizabeth Ruth was hired by The Writer's Union of Canada (TWUC) to deliver professional development workshops to writers across the country. She is a long-standing member of TWUC and the current chair of the author's advisory committee of the Writers' Trust of Canada. 

Elizabeth Ruth has a BA in English Literature and an MA in Counselling Psychology, both from the University of Toronto. She is also a graduate of the Humber School of Writers

Elizabeth Ruth's profile page


  • Commended, Canada Reads Top 40

Editorial Reviews

“Writing in clear, colourful prose, Ruth has a firm grip on the story of her passionate pioneer.”

Now Magazine

“The scenes in the bullring are technically precise and vividly portrayed … The erotic scenes, which include queer trysts of both male and female varieties, are earthy and rich…. Ruth [keeps] several key developments under wraps until finally springing them on the reader. This includes the novel’s bravura ending, which is quite simply stunning.”

Quill and Quire

“With intelligence as well as passion, Matadora asks what it would have taken for a Spanish woman in the 1930s to walk into the bullring, staking her life on that peculiar ritual. Elizabeth Ruth’s novel, testing the limits of commitment (artistic, literary, political and erotic) in the midst of bloodshed, is as magnetic and powerfully uncompromising as its heroine.”

Emma Donoghue, author of <i>Room</i>

“It is impossible to imagine Luna’s character without the context of bullfighting, but she deals with loss both in and out of the ring, and the questions she battles are human questions … Elizabeth Ruth’s Matadora connects readers with Luna’s torments and triumphs just as good books should.”

Buried in Print

“This is a novel to be savoured, one that, like the author’s previous books explores identity through love and art.”

The Record

“The writing is excellent — descriptions poetically detailed. I was transported in time to a place where dust tickled my throat and my breath quickened at the snorting of bulls in their pens.”

The Write Break

“Readers, like those tens of thousands that used to fill bullfighting arenas from South America to the Iberian Peninsula, will find themselves absolutely unable to look away. This searing, sensual novel is an adventure not to be missed.”

The Globe and Mail

“The writing is vivid and exciting, like the bullring itself, and Luna is a heroine to be reckoned with … Elizabeth Ruth does a masterful job in creating an engaging story that is ripe with historical accuracy and strung with passion.”

Travel to Wellness

“Luna must be counted among the most vital and alluring of Canada’s literary heroines. She simply enthralls. Manuel too is represented with searing verisimilitude. I could say as much about the book’s many secondary voices. In addition, Ruth exhibits a tremendous gift for creating the group dynamic. She not only animates one voice at a time she can uncannily inhabit several personalities at once.”

National Post

“Ambition, death, longing, and grief offer a powerful emotional through-line … while paradox, ambiguity, and ambivalence draw us into a richly engaging plot … Powerful and thought-provoking, Matadora may be worth not just one, but multiple, reads.”

Winnipeg Review

Other titles by Elizabeth Ruth