Hailed as a literary relative of Kafka and Poe by his Italian and Cuban contemporaries, Calvert Casey and his enthralling work have until now remained eclipsed in the United States. This collection brings all of Casey's powerful short stories and a fragment of an unfinished novel to an English-speaking audience for the first time. Exploring the human condition through poetically unique yet torturous views of the mind, Casey was a renegade artist whose work perceives reality as a smoke screen behind which Truth is hidden. He intended his fiction to disturb and subvert standard, plot-driven views of life.
Born in the United States, Casey was raised in Cuba and spent most of his life there and in Europe. He chose Spanish as his primary artistic tongue. A member of the intelligentsia surrounding Castro in the early years of the revolution, he was eventually exiled-and in 1969 committed suicide in Rome at the age of forty-five. Although most of his luminous stories are set in Havana, his is not a touristy, picturesque landscape but an often strange and nightmarish theater of human passions, inhabited by figures-silhouettes, really-that live on the edge of normality. This volume, which showcases Casey's mastery of the skill of indirect and gradual revelation, is the most complete to appear in any language and includes a biographical and critical introduction written by Ilan Stavans, the noted novelist and scholar of Hispanic culture.
Readers interested in the art of fiction and in the complexities of the human psyche will find Casey's work irresistible.
Calvert Casey (1924-1969) had published both essays and short stories in Spanish during his lifetime. John H. R. Polt is Professor Emeritus of Spanish at the University of California at Berkeley. Ilan Stavans is Professor of Spanish and Creative Writing at Amherst College. Ilan Stavans is Professor of Spanish and Creative Writing at Amherst College.
Introduction / Ilan Stavans vii A Note on the Text xxi Translator's Note / John H. R. Polt xxiii The Walk 1 In San Isidro 13 Homecoming 17 Potosi 33 My Aunt Leocadia, Love, and the Lower Paleolithic 39 The Sun 51 A Little Romance 62 The Visitors 73 Love: The River Almendares, Now Full-Grown, Is Twelve Million Years Old 90 Happiness 95 The Execution 104 The Master of Life and Death 118 Polonaise Brillante 163 Goodbye . . . and Thanks for Everything 167 In Partenza 177 On the Avenue 180 Piazza Margana 187