TALES FROM THE CUBAN EMPIRE by Antonio Jose Ponte

TALES FROM THE CUBAN EMPIRE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A comic expressionist view of contemporary Cuba slowly, slyly emerges from this unusual group of seven linked stories from the Havana poet and author of, most recently, the collection In the Cold of the Malecón (2000). Popular clichés about Latin American romantic madness, machismo, poverty, and the spirit of carnival are turned on their heads in such elusive, defiantly baroque tales as a former exchange student’s memories of his misadventures in the culture of atomic physics (“Tears in the Congrí”); a noirish melodrama about overcrowded living conditions in a slum where buildings keep collapsing (“A Knack for Making Ruins”); and the revelation of the murderous extremities to which love drives a Chinese butcher (“At the Request of Ochún”). A concluding Borgesian twist discloses who is listening to these glorious absurdities—and why, unifying in a peculiarly potent way this terrific little volume’s virtuosic mingling of melodramatic intrigue, sociopolitical commentary, surrealism, and parody.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 2002
ISBN: 0-87286-407-3
Page count: 104pp
Publisher: City Lights
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2002




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