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Friday, August 01, 2008

The Splendid Reasons of Cristina Garcia

Says Cristina Garcia, the thing I hate most in the Cuban context is this attempt to limit what it means to be Cuban. Not too long ago at a reading I gave in Puerto Rico, a man stood up and said, you can't be Cuban because you write in English. The point for me is that there is no one Cuban exile. I am out here in California and may not fit in anywhere, but I am Cuban too. I think I am trying to stake out a broader territory (At Home on the Page).

I think Cristina Garcia is perfectly right, and it goes not only for Cubans. I remember an opinion expressed by Mircea Eliade in an interview that I have read long time ago. He was speaking about Romanian culture and noted the dangers of provincialism. The solution is, as Cristina Garcia says, to stake out a broader territory: think at Eliade's Indian journey.

Cristina Garcia was born in Havana and grew up in New York City. Some of her books: Dreaming in Cuban, The Aquero Sisters, Bordering Fires, Monkey Hunting, A Handbook to Luck.

She gave in Newsweek her top of five most important books. The list is very solid: Borges, Chekhov, Virginia Woolf. The reasons she gives for each book are superb.

Here you go:
  1. Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges: intelligence and imagination have never been so ecstatically merged.
  2. Collected Stories by Anton Chekhov: no one writes with as much generosity or understanding of human nature.
  3. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf: her language and powers of observation are second to none.
  4. Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson: this epic poem will carve room in your soul for unlikely creatures.
  5. The Emigrants by W. G. Sebald: it questions what we think we know and how history gets made.

(A Life in Books)

(Una Vida Entre Libros)


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