With the disintegration of the Soviet bloc, the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Cuba's political future, the onslaught of tourists, and the economic upheavals in their society, Cubans face an important, perhaps epochal, moment of cultural change. It is a moment amply and complexly reflected in the fiction collected here, twelve short stories written in Cuba during the past ten years and published in English for the first time with the collaboration of some of today's finest translators. An eclectic selection, the stories offer an exhilarating sense of a rich literary diversity and cultural history, an experience of Cuban literature that has rarely been available to an English audience. They differ widely, even wildly, in style and theme: from an impromptu encounter with Ernest Hemingway to an imagined romance mapped onto Cuba's foundational nineteenth-century novel; from a witty, Borgesian satire on bureaucracy and officialist identity to a gothic adventure in homosexual voyeurism and mental illness; from an allegorical travelogue set in repressive China to a semi-surreal celebration of angels in Havana. These are the voices of Cuban fiction today, reflecting the past, anticipating the future, and composing in their infinite variety the stories of their culture.
Jacqueline Loss is an associate professor of Spanish and comparative literary and cultural studies at the University of Connecticut. She is also the author of Cosmopolitanisms and Latin America: Against the Destiny of Place (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005). Esther Whitfield is an assistant professor of comparative literature at Brown University.
Introduction, Jacqueline Loss and Esther Whitfield; Landscape of Clay by Alejandro Aguilar, translated by Andrew Hurley; A Maniac in the Bathroom by Ena Lucia Portela, translated by Cindy Schuster; You Know My Name by Eduardo del Llano, translated by Cola Franzen; Finca Vigia by Alberto Guerra Naranjo, translated by Peter Bush and Anne McLean; Puerta de Alcala by Leonardo Padura Fuentes, translated by Claudia Lightfoot; Journey to China by C. A. Aguilera, translated by Douglas E. LaPrade; You Don't Have to Reach Heaven by Francisco Garcia Gonzalez, translated by Mary Berg; Aunt Enma by Aida Bahr, translated by Dick Cluster; The Horizon by Abilio Estevez, translated by Katherine Hedeen and Victor Rodriguez Nunez; The House, Serrat, Cinema and... Do Narrators Still Dream about Prose Poets? by Ernesto Rene Rodriguez, translated by Jacqueline Loss; Gerona by Soleida Rios, translated by Barbara Jamison; The Girl Who Doesn't Smoke on Saturdays by Anna Lidia Vega Serova, translated by Alexandra Blair.