Think Cuba, you're likely to think bearded revolutionaries in fatigues. Salsa. Sugar cane. Rock 'n' roll, zombies, drugs - anomie and angst - do not generally figure in our mental images of a country that's assumed an outsized place in the American imagination. But fresh from the tropics, in Cuba in Splinters - a sparkling package of stories we're assured are fictional - that's exactly what you'll find. Eleven writers largely unknown outside Cuba depict a world that veers from a hyper-real Havana in decay, against a backdrop of oblivious drug-toting German tourists, to a fantasy land (or is it?) where vigilant Cubans bar the door to zombies masquerading as health inspectors. Sex and knife-fights, stutterers and addicts, losers and lost literary classics: welcome to a raw and genuine island universe closed to casual visitors.
I love Cuban literature, and I tried desperately to find some redeeming quality in this book, but the tories were terrible. They are nothing more than a parade of self-indulgent, complaining. The sex is gratuitous. The stories come together as one, big anti-Castro pity party. The authors are so interested in whining about their past and present that they really can't create anything of literary value. This is sad. This is embarrassing for a country with a proud history of literature.
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