Price: U.S. $5.00*
From Cuba with a Song
Green Integer Series No.: A Sun & Moon Classic
ISBN: 1-55713-158-9, Pages: 157
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Born in eastern Cuba, Sarduy studied at the
University of Havana, and, with Guillermo Cabrera
Infante, was one of the few writers involved in the
fight against Batista. At an early age he was made
publisher of the Lunes de Revolución, the
official organ of the 26th of July Movement. In 1960
he left for Paris.
In Paris Sarduy became the editor of the Latin
American collection of Editions du Seuil, and became
involved with the Tel Quel group. Among the books
he introduced to the French were Gabriel García
Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude
and Lezama Lima's Paradiso. Sarduy
himself, meanwhile, published several works
including Escrito sobre un cuerpo
(Written on a Body), Maitreya,
Colibri, La simulación,
Overdose, and Daiquiri, a book of
poems that uses Baroque prosody to describe gay
sex in explicit terms.
De Donde son los cantantes (From
Cuba with a Song) was Sarduy's first truly
experimental work. Divided into three sections, each
corresponding to the ethnic groups that make up
Cuban nationality (Spanish, African, and Chinese),
the book explores the disparate elements at work in
Latin American culture. Culture, for Sarduy, is a
series of radical and often violent displacements and
errors. Transvestitism becomes the common
denominator as a symbol of transformation (physical
and spiritual) and delusion. As González Echevarría
observes, "In De Donde son los cantantes,
the characters look as if they're made up for a
carnival that will let loose their deepest and weirdest
fantasies. Sarduy's novel exposes the complicity
between the novel's conventions and society's
patriarchal structure. He denounces the quest for
Latin American identity as yet another ideological
maneuver by essentially epic novelists who want to
strengthen the hold of the mechanisms of
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