Cover image for Cubana : contemporary fiction by Cuban women
Title:
Cubana : contemporary fiction by Cuban women
Author:
Yáñez, Mirta, 1947-
Publication Information:
Boston : Beacon Press, [1998]

©1998
Physical Description:
xxi, 213 pages ; 22 cm
Language:
English
Contents:
Women's voices from the Great Blue River / Mirta Yáñez -- Somebody has to cry / Marilyn Bobes -- Japanese daisies / María Elena Llana -- Internal monologue on a corner in Havana / Josefina de Diego -- A tooth for a tooth / Nancy Alonso -- Anhedonia : a story for two women / Mylene Fernández Pintado -- The scent of limes / Aida Bahr -- My aunt / Esther Díaz Llanillo -- Disremembering a smell / Ana Luz García Calzada -- Catalina in the afternoons / Magaly Sánchez -- Potosí II : address unknown / Rosa Ileana Boudet -- A whiff of wild desire / Sonia Rivera-Valdés -- Dust to dust / Mirta Yáñez -- I just can't take it / Uva de Aragón -- The Egyptians / Adelaida Fernández de Juan -- We came all the way from Cuba so you could dress like this? / Achy Obejas -- The urn and the name (a lighthearted tale) / Ena Lucía Portela.
ISBN:
9780807083369

9780807083376
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library PQ7386 .C835 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

Until recently, the combination of a Cuban old boys' network and an ideological emphasis on "tough" writing worked to keep fiction written by Cuban women largely unknown and unread. Cubana, the U.S. edition of a groundbreaking 1996 anthology of Cuban women's fiction, introduces these once-ignored writers to a new audience. Havana editor and author Mirta Yanez unites sixteen stories into an impressive collection that reveals the exciting strength and variety of fiction by contemporary Cuban women -- and offers a glimpse inside Cuba at this time of extreme economic difficulty and artistic renaissance.

Many of these stories focus pointedly on economic and social conditions. Others -- Magaly Sanchez's erotic fantasy "Catalina in the Afternoons" and Mylene Fernandez Pintado's psychologically deft "Anhedonia: A Story in Two Women" -- reveal a nascent Cuban feminism. The Cuban-American writer Achy Obejas recreates the strange dual identity of the immigrant, while experimental stories like the playful and savvy "The Urn and the Name (A Light-hearted Tale)", written by Ena Lucia Portela, reveal the vitality of the formalist tradition in Cuba. And Rosa Ileana Boudet's "Potosi I I: Address Unknown" is a romantic paean to a time of youth, passion, and revolution -- and perhaps a combination love letter and hate mail to the famous Cuban writer-in-exile Guillermo Cabrera Infante.


Summary

Until recently, the combination of a Cuban old boys' network and an ideological emphasis on "tough" writing kept fiction by Cuban women largely unknown and unread. Cubana , the U.S. version of a groundbreaking anthology of women's fiction published in Cuba in 1996, introduces these once-ignored writers to a new audience. Havana editor and author Mirta Y#65533;#65533;ez has assembled an impressive group of sixteen stories that reveals the strength and variety of contemporary writing by Cuban women-and offers a glimpse inside Cuba during a time of both extreme economic difficulty and artistic renaissance.

Many of these stories focus pointedly on economic and social conditions. Josefina de Diego's "Internal Monologue on a Corner in Havana" shows us the current crisis through the eyes and voice of a witty economist-turned-vendor who must sell her extra cigarettes. Others-Magaly S#65533;nchez's erotic fantasy "Catalina in the Afternoons" and Mylene Fern#65533;ndez Pintado's psychologically deft "Anhedonia (A Story in Two Women)"-reveal a nascent Cuban feminism. The twelve-year-old narrator of Aida Bahr's "The Scent of Limes" tries to make sense of her grandparents' conservative values, her stepfather's disappearance, and her mother's fierce independence. The Cuban-American writer Achy Obejas recreates the strange dual identity of the immigrant, while avant-garde stories like the playful and savvy "The Urn and the Name (A Merry Tale)," written by Ena Luc#65533;a Portela, reveal the vitality of the experimental tradition in Cuba. And Rosa Ileana Boudet's "Potos#65533; 11: Address Unknown" is both a romantic paean to a time of youth, passion, and revolution, and an attempt to reconcile that past with a diminished present.


Author Notes

Cindy Schuster is a poet and translator. She teaches at Tufts University and at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.


Reviews 4

Booklist Review

In its original version published in Spanish in 1996 as Estatuas de Sal (Pillars of Salt), this first anthology of short stories by Cuban women was a breakthrough; owing to social and economic constraints, the voices of Cubanas had been largely unheard. This shorter version, with its focus on living writers, affords glimpses into the complexities of life in contemporary Cuba but most of all provides keen insights into the human condition. Relationships between women are probed, almost to the point of pain, in three resonant selections, Mylene Fernandez Pintado's "Anhedonia (A Story of Two Women)" and Marilyn Bobes' "Somebody Has to Cry" --each told from the point of view of multiple characters--and Mirta Yanez's "Dust to Dust." Contributions by Cubanas living in the U.S.--among them Sonia Rivera-Valdes' lusty "Whiff of Wild Desire" and Uva de Aragon's wrenching "I Just Can't Take It" --have less of a sense of place but are among the most memorable. Born of a literary history combining African, Hispanic, and North American strains, these stories open a window to another culture. (Reviewed April 15, 1998)0807083364Michele Leber


Choice Review

Showing courage and political savvy, Beacon Press commissioned this reworking of the successful Estatuas de sal (1996), providing a hard-hitting foreword by Ruth Behar and demonstrating a clear bias in favor of disseminating work by once-ignored writers to a new audience. A wonderful bridge to a nation divided by combat and exile, Cubana brings valuable historical testimony to both the daughters of the Revolution and the so-called gusanos (those who left the island). Predictably, many of the 13 island-based stories are bleak, translating into human terms Cuba's current moral and economic crisis; the contributions by three Cuban women writing in the US recount the pain of their loss of identity after adapting to life in La Yuma. Broadening the spectrum, the younger authors add humor and fantasy to dreary reality, and the most recent writings display innovation in theme (where female desire, both straight and lesbian, gibes with political outspokenness) and form (where the absurd interacts with magic realism brought up to date in experimental literary play). With its good English translations, this is el cubaneo with dignity, a woman's perspective, and the essential flavor of a marvelous new literature of quality. A fine choice for every public and academic library. K. M. Sibbald; McGill University


Booklist Review

In its original version published in Spanish in 1996 as Estatuas de Sal (Pillars of Salt), this first anthology of short stories by Cuban women was a breakthrough; owing to social and economic constraints, the voices of Cubanas had been largely unheard. This shorter version, with its focus on living writers, affords glimpses into the complexities of life in contemporary Cuba but most of all provides keen insights into the human condition. Relationships between women are probed, almost to the point of pain, in three resonant selections, Mylene Fernandez Pintado's "Anhedonia (A Story of Two Women)" and Marilyn Bobes' "Somebody Has to Cry" --each told from the point of view of multiple characters--and Mirta Yanez's "Dust to Dust." Contributions by Cubanas living in the U.S.--among them Sonia Rivera-Valdes' lusty "Whiff of Wild Desire" and Uva de Aragon's wrenching "I Just Can't Take It" --have less of a sense of place but are among the most memorable. Born of a literary history combining African, Hispanic, and North American strains, these stories open a window to another culture. (Reviewed April 15, 1998)0807083364Michele Leber


Choice Review

Showing courage and political savvy, Beacon Press commissioned this reworking of the successful Estatuas de sal (1996), providing a hard-hitting foreword by Ruth Behar and demonstrating a clear bias in favor of disseminating work by once-ignored writers to a new audience. A wonderful bridge to a nation divided by combat and exile, Cubana brings valuable historical testimony to both the daughters of the Revolution and the so-called gusanos (those who left the island). Predictably, many of the 13 island-based stories are bleak, translating into human terms Cuba's current moral and economic crisis; the contributions by three Cuban women writing in the US recount the pain of their loss of identity after adapting to life in La Yuma. Broadening the spectrum, the younger authors add humor and fantasy to dreary reality, and the most recent writings display innovation in theme (where female desire, both straight and lesbian, gibes with political outspokenness) and form (where the absurd interacts with magic realism brought up to date in experimental literary play). With its good English translations, this is el cubaneo with dignity, a woman's perspective, and the essential flavor of a marvelous new literature of quality. A fine choice for every public and academic library. K. M. Sibbald; McGill University


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