FOUR WOMEN: Living the Revolution by Oscar & Ruth M.; & Susan M. Rigdon Lewis

FOUR WOMEN: Living the Revolution

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The second volume of Oscar and Ruth Lewis' interviews from contemporary Cuba presents portraits of four women whose ""integration"" into the Revolution was acknowledgedly uncharacteristic and far surpasses that of the men profiled in Volume I (p. 395). Though the interviews were conducted in 1969-70, some five years prior to the push for women's rights, three of the four subjects are fervent, unswerving supporters of the new society. While only one, a 54-year-old divorcÉe, speaks of ending the ""subjugation of women,"" all are involved in the government's mass organizations, labor projects, and continuing education programs--in building ""socialism."" Pilar Lopez Gonzales, an officially rehabilitated prostitute, believes the new regime saved her life by rescuing her from despair (""drink and pills kept me going"") and a pattern of bi-monthly abortions. Vivid recollections of pre-Revolutionary racism and sexism (Pilar was despised by her mulatto mother for not being a boy; by her grandmother for not being sufficiently ""white"") appear in the lives of all the women, and it is obvious that strong hangovers remain. Religious piety was and is a strong influence on their world view, and Gracia Rivera Herrera, who alone feels some counterrevolutionary compunctions, blames the regime's ""spiritual starvation of the Cuban people"" for her ambivalence. Once again the interviews give a sharp sense of revolutionary doctrine and programs operating in a dense social swirl of family quarrels, sexual jealousies and internecine conflicts that may divide a family into Fidelistas or gusanos. A third volume will examine the contrast with the more ""tradition bound"". women of a Havana housing project. In the meantime, the voices here testify to a transformation which, though it may be incomplete, is more than rhetorical.

Pub Date: Sept. 29th, 1977
Publisher: Univ. of Illinois Press