Cubanísimo!: the Vintage Book of contemporary Cuban literature
Cubanisimo! is the first book to gather Cuban stories, essays, poems and novel excerpts in one volume that summarizes the richness and depth of a great national literature. From the turn of the century to the present, from Havana to Miami, New York, Mexico City, Madrid and beyond, the spirit and diversity of Cuban cultureconverge in one vibrant literary jam session. Cristina Garcia has ingeniously grouped her selections according to "the music of their sentences" into five sections named for Cuban dance styles. Cubanisimo! begins with an elegant classical danzon section that includes poems and diaries from the father of Cuban literature, Jose Marti, and Antonio Benitez-Rojo's hallucinatory story A View from the Mangrove. As it moves to more contemporary dances, the book offers, among other delights, the essay by Alejo Carpentier that was the first to define magical realism; the scandalously sensual eighth chapter from Jose Lezama Lima's controversial 1966 novel Paradiso; Ana Menendez's Little Havana-inspired story, In Cuba I was a German Shepherd; a passage from Reinaldo Arenas's acclaimed memoir Before Night Falls and six witty musingsor mamboson language from Gustavo Perez Firmat's Life on the Hyphen . A brilliant introduction for readers who want to explore Cuban literature, as well as a collectible volume for those who love Cuba, Cubanisimo! is a celebration of Cuban culture, from the island to its farthest flung voices.
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