Image: Douglas Pérez, "Pictopía III: Still I Have a Dream," 2009 Oil on canvas 63 x 93 3/4 in. Courtesy of the Shelley and Donald Rubin Private Collection
This month we’re in Cuba, exploring the island’s elastic sense of time through speculative fiction by seven of its hottest writers. The stories here navigate this world and multiple others to produce both compelling narratives and fascinating insight into contemporary Cuba. Rock star Yoss cooks up an interstellar delight. Mylene Fernández Pintado suggests at least one solution to the endless line at the bank. Erick J. Mota relives long-distance love through classic Cuban music, while Ena Lucia Portela subverts a fairy tale by putting the shoe on the other foot. Anabel Enríquez Piñeiro ships off three child refugees in a singular vessel. Eduardo del Llano moves a stealth pinch-hitter into the lineup. And at the movies, Herson Tissert Pérez screens a different director’s cut. Back on the Earth we know, Rubén Gallo reflects on Obama in Cuba and Hillary Gulley interviews Mary Jo Porter, translator and facilitator of Cuban blogs, in our nonfiction feature. We thank our guest editors, Esther Allen and Hillary Gulley, who provide an introduction. We trust you’ll make time for this issue.
On Cuban Time
Cuban time moves to its own complex rhythms.
“you can't go asking for the impossible.”
“For me to answer that, you’d have to prove that baseball players have souls.”
The Bleeding Hands of Castaways
But you’re a space man, and you needed to build me a bar on an asteroid.
Interstellar Biochocolate Mousse à la solitaire . . . For Two
Set aside four containers to chill (but not in the freezer or in outer space).
Elementary: The robber who knows his penal codes and his percentages also knows about literature.
Cinderella’s Secret Dream
She had a secret dream: To be an actress in soap operas.
Nothing to Declare
There’s not a single human on the ship besides us.
Reviewed by Emma Garman
A powerfully distilled meditation on the competing costs of freedom and dependence.
Reviewed by Kate Prengel
Pizarnik is a heroic voyager slaying demons and recovering lost languages . . . . Dabral returns again and again to childhood, to the difference between city and countryside, to a nagging sense of loss.
Reviewed by Thomas Michael Duncan
Valtinos explores the twists and turns between perpetrating and being the victim of violence amid the confusions and contradictions of civil war.