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The Tower of the Antilles

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Obejas’s stories of contemporary Cuba explore how history and fate intrude on even the most ordinary of lives.

$19.95 $14.96

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What people are saying…

“Questions of personal and national identity percolate through the stories in Obejas’s memorable short fiction collection, most of which is set in Cuba, the author’s birthplace . . . These 10 stories show Obejas’s talent, illuminating Cuban culture and the innermost lives of her characters.”
Publishers Weekly

“Obejas’s stories demonstrate an acute understanding of being caught between two places and cultures as different as America and Cuba.”
Library Journal

“By turns searing and subtly magical, the stories in Obejas’ vividly imagined collection are propelled by her characters’ contradictory feelings about and unnerving experiences in Cuba . . . For all the human tumult and deftly sketched and reverberating historical and cultural contexts that Obejas incisively creates in these poignant, alarming tales, she also offers lyrical musings on the mysteries of the sea and the vulnerability of islands and the body. Obejas’ plots are ambushing, her characters startling, her metaphors fresh, her humor caustic, and her compassion potent in these intricate and haunting stories of displacement, loss, stoicism, and realization.”
Booklist

“Achy Obejas’s collection is about fictional Cuban migrants who never quite escape the land they’ve left.”
Electric Literature

“Obejas presents heartbreaking dramas in the most elegant language . . . Obejas strung ten story islands together in The Tower of the Antilles to create an archipelago, persuasively articulating the contrast between power and the lack of it—her tales fluently translating the Cuban search for identity.”
Woven Tale Press

“It’s a joy to return to Obejas’s work; her prose, crisp, crystalline, and controlled, covering the wide spectrums of anger, desire, longing, and wonder in the face of immigration . . . Obejas sneaks under the skin, revealing emotions tied up at the dock, cuts the rope, and sets them free. The Tower of the Antilles proves, once again, why Achy Obejas is one of the most important Cuban writers of our time.”
The Miami Rail

“Obejas’ deft hand and free-wheeling imagination craft ten stories to be read, then read again out of delight, perplexity, surprise, admiration.”
La Bloga

“This summer is the perfect opportunity to get to know the work of this Cuban-American writer. The stories collected in her new book tell the story of various Cubas—Cuba throughout the ages, Cuba from different perspectives, but always Cuba in all its vibrant, troubled, conflicting beauty.”
B&N Reads

“Captivating . . . These conflicts of identity, selfhood, and belonging are braided with lush phrasing and a penchant for details and observations.”
Atticus Rail

“For twenty years I’ve been a fan of the genius Achy Obejas—since I first read Memory Mambo in 1996. Obejas has been the model of a writer for me in every way—a master in her aesthetics, an inspiration in her politics, fearless and vital in every page. The Tower of the Antilles is another brilliant collection, a story of many Cubas, intensely personal and political, erotic and cerebral. I found myself holding my breath as I devoured this book, as I navigated the various avenues of the body, the blood, and all those seemingly impossible roads that lead to a place we try to call home.”
—Porochista Khakpour, author of The Last Illusion

“These stories are like a long dream of many parts, mixed desire, love, longing, anger—Obejas is a master of the human, able to conjure her characters’ heartbeats right under your fingertips, their breaths in your ears.”
—Alexander Chee, author of The Queen of the Night

“Achy Obejas’s new story collection begins and ends with a question: what is your name? The answer is an abounding one. Counterrevolutionaries, the witnesses to the arrival of Columbus’s caravels, poets, Supermán—the characters in these stories, in all their riveting variety, name themselves as Cuban and are bound in complex ways by the geography of their hearts, if not the geography beneath their feet. An audacious and remarkable read!”
—Chantel Acevedo, author of The Distant Marvels

Praise for Achy Obejas:

“Obejas writes like an angel, which is to say: gloriously . . . one of Cuba’s most important writers.”
—Junot Díaz


Description

The Cubans in Achy Obejas’s story collection are haunted by islands: the island they fled, the island they’ve created, the island they were taken to or forced from, the island they long for, the island they return to, and the island that can never be home again.

In “Supermán,” several possible story lines emerge about a 1950s Havana sex-show superstar who disappeared as soon as the Revolution triumphed. “North/South” portrays a migrant family trying to cope with separation, lives on different hemispheres, and the eventual disintegration of blood ties. “The Cola of Oblivion” follows the path of a young woman who returns to Cuba, and who inadvertently uncorks a history of accommodation and betrayal among the family members who stayed behind during the revolution. In the title story, “The Tower of the Antilles,” an interrogation reveals a series of fantasies about escape and a history of futility.

With language that is both generous and sensual, Obejas writes about existences beset by events beyond individual control, and poignantly captures how history and fate intrude on even the most ordinary of lives.

Read Achy Obejas’s opinion piece, “The Little Fidel in All of Us,” at the New York Times.

The Tower of the Antilles is included on Barnes & Noble / B&N Reads’s list of 12 Must-Read Indie Books Coming This Summer.

The Tower of the Antilles is included in the Chicago Review of Books‘s list of 12 Books You Should Definitely Read This July.

Read an excerpt from The Tower of the Antilles at Electric Literature.


Book Details

  • Hardcover: 150 pages
  • Published: 7/4/17
  • IBSN: 9781617755392
  • e-IBSN: 9781617755538

Author

ACHY OBEJAS is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Ruins, Days of Awe, and three other books of fiction. She edited and translated (into English) the anthology Havana Noir, and has since translated Junot Díaz, Rita Indiana, Wendy Guerra, and many others. In 2014, she was awarded a USA Ford Fellowship for her writing and translation. The Tower of the Antilles is her latest work.

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