sangra

The latest addition to my website is Mirta Yáñez‘s Sangra por la herida (Bleeding Wound). This an excellent Cuban novel, narrated by twelve different narrators, most of whom live in the Alamar district of Havana. While the stories are often set in the 1990s, several of the older characters tell their stories from the period before the Revolution and, in particular, in the 1960s. The characters are generally unhappy with their lot. Some of the older ones look back with a certain nostalgia to the past and find life difficult to cope with in contemporary Cuba. One, living in London, is missing her husband who is not with her and has a decidedly ambiguous view of Cuba. The young Daontaon is ambitious and happy to use men for her own ends but is not happy with her job in the Cultural Centre. Martín, a novelist who still lives with his mother, has not written anything worthwhile for ten years and is struggling to write anything but titles. Meanwhile, the Woman who talks to Herself in the Park is seeing an apocalyptic view of Havana. Life is not generally easy, with regular power cuts, difficulties in finding decent food and any rebellion very much frowned upon. The only real plot line concerns a woman who disappears and, when various body parts turn up, wrapped in butcher’s appear in various parts of the city, her French husband is suspected. This is a most enjoyable work, which I can highly recommend. It comes from Cubanabooks, a relatively new small press, devoted to publishing works by Cuban women. Judging by this work, they are going to discover some very interesting authors.