Cover image for Cuban writers on and off the island : contemporary narrative fiction
Cuban writers on and off the island : contemporary narrative fiction
Smorkaloff, Pamela María, 1956-
Publication Information:
New York : Twayne Publishers, [1999]

Physical Description:
xxiii, 100 pages ; 22 cm.
The home and the world: situating the twentieth-century Cuban literary tradition -- Building the Cuban canon: "memories of the future" -- Canon and diaspora: a literary dialogue -- From lost steps to hyphenated lives: Cuban voices and Latino literature.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PQ7382 .S66 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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"In Cuban Writers on and off the Island, Pamela Maria Smorkaloff examines Cuban literary production "across the divide," as an ensemble, regardless of where it originates. She situates the twentieth-century Cuban canon from its origins to the present, offering analyses of the works of seminal authors including Alejo Carpentier, Lezama Lima and Edmundo Desnoes; transitional figures like Reinaldo Arenas, who began his literary career in Cuba and continued it after making the leap into the diaspora; and writers who began their careers outside of Cuba, mostly in the United States, and in English, such as Oscar Hijuelos."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Reviews 1

Choice Review

At the heart of this concise and superbly written study is the author's rejection of the tendency to view Cuba's literary production and that of its diaspora as parallel but separate entities. Convinced that the contemporary world is one of ever-shifting physical and mental borders, Smorkaloff (Montclair State Univ.) examines the entirety of the 20th-century Cuban literary canon, attempting to show where the cultural and intellectual spaces of this production intersect and overlap. She concentrates on a group of writers of narrative fiction whose works reflect what she terms a conscious engagement with Cuba's history as a continuum. She establishes Alejo Carpentier and the off-island newcomer Achy Obejas as the literary poles of this continuum, with Reinaldo Arenas serving as a kind of bridge to the contemporary diaspora and to contemporary Cuban American writers such as Oscar Hijuelos and Cristina Garcia, whose careers have developed principally in the US. Smorkaloff argues that all of this narrative has in common its exploration of the role of false memory, both on and off the island, in the construction of a national, cultural identity. Recommended for all collections. J. J. Hassett; Swarthmore College