CANTORAS by Carolina De Robertis
Kirkus Star

CANTORAS

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

In the shadow of a violent dictatorship, five queer women find the courage and strength to live their truth.

De Robertis’ (The Gods of Tango, 2015, etc.) latest novel starts in 1977 with the Uruguayan military dictatorship suppressing dissidents and homosexuals through rape, jailing, and disappearing. Calling themselves cantoras, or women who sing, five queer women begin to carve out a place for themselves in the world: Flaca, Romina, Anita “La Venus,” Malena, and Paz. Brought together by Flaca, the women take a weeklong trip to Cabo Polonio, a sleepy, secluded coastal village, where they find a haven among horrors. On the beach, the women laugh late into the night, make love unabashedly, and share secrets over whiskey and yerba maté. The friends become family. On their first trip, Paz, the youngest, begins to discover an alternative way of being: “A secret way to be a woman. A way that blasted things apart, that melted the map of reality.” Rich and luscious, De Robertis’ writing feels like a living thing, lapping over the reader like the ocean. Carefully crafted and expertly observed, each sentence is an elegant gift: “Stars clamored around a meager slice of moon,” and “she was keenly aware of [her] movements...as if a thread stretched between them, a spider’s thread, glimmering and inexhaustibly strong.” Over the course of three decades, the women fall in and out of love; have brushes with the brutal regime; defy familial and societal expectations; and, most of all, unapologetically live their lives as cantoras. At one point, the unhappily married La Venus wonders: “Why did life put so much inside a woman and then keep her confined to smallness?” De Robertis’ novel allows these women to break those confines and find greatness in themselves and each other.

A stunning novel about queer love, womanhood, and personal and political revolution.

Pub Date: Sept. 3rd, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-525-52169-3
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2019




MORE BY CAROLINA DE ROBERTIS

NonfictionRADICAL HOPE by Carolina De Robertis
by Carolina De Robertis
FictionTHE GODS OF TANGO by Carolina De Robertis
by Carolina De Robertis
FictionPERLA by Carolina De Robertis
by Carolina De Robertis

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

FictionUNDER THE UDALA TREES by Chinelo Okparanta
by Chinelo Okparanta
FictionTHE PAYING GUESTS by Sarah Waters
by Sarah Waters