Mylene Fernandez offers us a magnificent gift Her story of lost love and the difficult pursuit of literature is at the same time an X ray of life in Havana, set in a present where glimpses of the future have not yet arrived Leonardo Padura, author of The Man Who Loved Dogs and the Mario Conde novels of HavanaIn contemporary Havana, Do I stay or do I go is always the question, and love doesn t necessarily conquer allA cautious, reserved professor of Spanish Literature, Marian has no idea that her quiet life is about to be turned upside down When she s asked to review the work of a young, ambitious first time novelist, she meets Daniel, and their love affair leads her to question both the choices she s made so far in her life and the opportunities she might yet still haveTheirs is the story of an intense and impossible love, set in today s Havana, a city where there can be no plans, where chance is the order of the day and a fierce sense of loyalty and pride coexists with the desire to live beyond the island s isolation The fresh panorama of Cuban society today is painted without taboos or constraints, with a faith in human possibilities, and above all with a courage that stems from what is most legitimate and durable in ourselves Nancy Morej n, author of Looking Within Selected Poems and Piedra Pulida A Corner of the World is about desires and dreams, and, of course, about love Achy Obejas, author of Days of Awe and Ruins Like the best of Truman Capote, another master of the short novel, Mylene Fern ndez gives us a cast of unforgettable characters contradictory, complex, and human Fernando P rez, director of Suite Habana, Life Is to Whistle, and Madagascar To read this book is to encounter one of the best and most intimate works of Cuban literature of the st century Mabel Cuesta, author of Cuba post sovi tica un cuerpo narrado en clave de mujer A sad, erotic, tender, and sometimes ironic tale of passion and desertion the city becomes a co protagonist, a confidante, a point of departure and return, and of waiting Senel Paz, novelist and screenwriter of Strawberry and Chocolate, Things I Left in Havana, and In the Sky with Diamonds


10 thoughts on “A Corner of the World

  1. Christine Christine says:

    I picked this book up from the Akateeminen kirjakauppa on May 15th, 2016, which I know because I had left the receipt in as a bookmark I remember buying it the weather was beautiful and I wanted to sit in the Esplanadi park and read, but I didn t have a book on hand although I don t know why I chose this book, out of all the books in the store On that day, I read the first 30 or so pages, but I wasn t drawn in and didn t pick it up again until today I wonder if on that day, I didn t reall I picked this book up from the Akateeminen kirjakauppa on May 15th, 2016, which I know because I had left the receipt in as a bookmark I remember buying it the weather was beautiful and I wanted to sit in the Esplanadi park and read, but I didn t have a book on hand although I don t know why I chose this book, out of all the books in the store On that day, I read the first 30 or so pages, but I wasn t drawn in and didn t pick it up again until today I wonder if on that day, I didn t really want to engage with the conflicts of the central character, who is questioning her past choices and the opportunities that the future might bring Perhaps I chose this book because I knew that I should ask those questions one day, but wasn t yet ready and who would be, stuck in the middle of a master s thesis Marian s friend says to her You think you want to go home But wasn t this your home You don t belong here any In the airport they don t ask you so many questions But you ask yourself questions, and the answers take a long time and lots of tears This book was lovely and sentimental and apparently just what I needed to read today a good reflection on the consequences of the choices we make for ourselves, and in an odd way, very comforting


  2. Jessica Gaskin Jessica Gaskin says:

    I chose this as the first book to read before my trip to Cuba as it is written by a Cuban author and available in English It was a really interesting insight into modern day Cuba although perhaps already slightly out of date given recent changes The story was gripping, ostentatiously a love story but so muchthan that Really looking into why people choose to stay or leave Cuba


  3. Michela Conoscitore Michela Conoscitore says:

    I romanzi della Marcos y Marcos e i loro scrittori non mi deludono mai ti rifugi l , in quell angolino di pace che riescono a creare e ti estrani dal resto del mondo E ovviamente, ti fanno viaggiare Ho fatto tappa con Mylene Fern ndez Pintado a Cuba, descritta talmente bene dall autrice che la mia curiosit verso l isola caraibica cresciuta smodatamente Spero di arrivarci un giorno sul Mal con Per , a differenza mia, la protagonista del romanzo, Marian, non ama molto viaggiare, lasciare L I romanzi della Marcos y Marcos e i loro scrittori non mi deludono mai ti rifugi l , in quell angolino di pace che riescono a creare e ti estrani dal resto del mondo E ovviamente, ti fanno viaggiare Ho fatto tappa con Mylene Fern ndez Pintado a Cuba, descritta talmente bene dall autrice che la mia curiosit verso l isola caraibica cresciuta smodatamente Spero di arrivarci un giorno sul Mal con Per , a differenza mia, la protagonista del romanzo, Marian, non ama molto viaggiare, lasciare L Havana per esplorare il mondo, perch il suo mondo quello Non deve fare altro che scendere in strada e respirare il profumo dell oceano e l odore della sua gente Eppure arriva nella sua vita Daniel, la risveglia all a e alla vita, la tira fuori dal lutto in cui era caduta dopo la scomparsa della madre E cos Marian ricomincia a vivere, a sognare, a pensare, a scrivere, a leggere, a mettere in pratica quegli insegnamenti di vita sconclusionati impartitegli da un ragazzino di ventidue anni, a lei donna adulta Le bugie, le promesse, i momenti d a, una rinascita quella narrata dalla Pintado che consiglio a tutti, che incontriate questo libro quando ne avrete pi bisogno


  4. Cody Stetzel Cody Stetzel says:

    I thought this novella was tremendous I couldn t stop thinking about it upon picking it up, and found myself reading it through the night to finish it It reads like one of the best extrapolations and expositions on existential boredom that I ve encountered I would imagine the unstated question behind this work is, If someone handed you an opportunity, would you trust yourself to take it Beautiful, poignant, and quite funny at times, too Going down on someone while naming Portuguese explor I thought this novella was tremendous I couldn t stop thinking about it upon picking it up, and found myself reading it through the night to finish it It reads like one of the best extrapolations and expositions on existential boredom that I ve encountered I would imagine the unstated question behind this work is, If someone handed you an opportunity, would you trust yourself to take it Beautiful, poignant, and quite funny at times, too Going down on someone while naming Portuguese explorers will certainly stay in my mind


  5. Tekla Tekla says:

    In a way this short novel is like an essay discussing the reasons why people decide to leave Cuba and why people decide to stay in Cuba But told in strong voices of characters wrestling with that decision The main character, Marian also is coming to terms with loss, through death and through departure while trying to decide where she stands in the leave stay decision I liked the descriptions of Havana and the concise and poignant writing I read the English version and thought it was very eve In a way this short novel is like an essay discussing the reasons why people decide to leave Cuba and why people decide to stay in Cuba But told in strong voices of characters wrestling with that decision The main character, Marian also is coming to terms with loss, through death and through departure while trying to decide where she stands in the leave stay decision I liked the descriptions of Havana and the concise and poignant writing I read the English version and thought it was very every day sounding English, very readable


  6. Dorly Dorly says:

    I liked this book a lot I felt for the way it depicts Havana and the Cuban blues Stay or leave Just choose the lesser type of unhappiness.


  7. Curt Eriksen Curt Eriksen says:

    Intimate and nuanced treatment of the perennial dilemma of staying or going in contemporary Cuban society.


  8. Roger Brunyate Roger Brunyate says:

    To live in my countryLook up pictures of the Malec n in Havana, that long road along the sea wall, over which the waves break in storms, blowing spume onto the decayed grandeur of the buildings behind I looked at Havana, bordered by miles of ocean, but for the first time I felt the water was besieging us What we can do is look out over the waves, which exist as a promise of the rest of the world Mylene Fern ndez Pintado s short novel is full of people who leave Cuba, eager to explore th To live in my countryLook up pictures of the Malec n in Havana, that long road along the sea wall, over which the waves break in storms, blowing spume onto the decayed grandeur of the buildings behind I looked at Havana, bordered by miles of ocean, but for the first time I felt the water was besieging us What we can do is look out over the waves, which exist as a promise of the rest of the world Mylene Fern ndez Pintado s short novel is full of people who leave Cuba, eager to explore that promise There are those who leave, those who yearn to go, and some who return, with a kind of regret Yet the first person narrator, Marian, a thirty something professor of freshman composition, is committed to stay She believes that being here isimportant than the superlatives of over there It doesn t seem crazy to want to live in my country If you define a novel only in terms of plot, then this one would not rate especially high But as an account of ordinary life in Cuba from the Revolution to about 2006, when the author began writing, it is incomparable It does not paint pictures either of hardship or faded romantic dreams it leaves both politics and sociology in the background Yet it does not sugar coat either you feel that everything Marian tells us is both normal and true As a university professor, albeit a low profile one, she is perhaps better placed than most But her voice at least as translated by Dick Cluster is wonderful objective, wryly humorous, simultaneously principled and pragmatic, and surprisingly sexual And the book is full of marvelous characters her off and on again lover who is about to marry a Panamanian heiress and move with her to London, his mother who calls round now and again to boast of her son, an outspoken and fiery female painter who nonetheless shows a remarkable strength of loyalty, and an older gay man who lives in a rooftop shack and makes money writing letters for lovesick girls.The story, such as it is, concerns Marian s affair with a young author fifteen years her junior Her department head asks her to write a preface to this young man s book she agrees, and eventually meets the author, only to find him intolerable But first impressions are so often deceptive, and their next meeting ends very differently Did I believe in their passion Not entirely it is not enough to hold the novel together by itself For a while, I felt that the many other characters introduced, with their back stories and histories not to mention the various asides on different aspects of Cuban life and outlook were distractions from the pursuit of what I took to be the main subject But in the second part of the book especially, I came to realize that these were the main subject, and I would be unlikely to find aauthentic picture of life in Cuba anywhere else


  9. Emmett Emmett says:

    I received an advanced reading copy of this novel as part of the Goodreads First Reads program A Corner of the World by Myelene Fern ndez Pintado is a brief but interesting read Although its length is short and the story is purposefully spare, the novel as a whole doesn t suffer, giving off the feeling that the end product is exactly what the author anticipated to produce The story, at its very core, is a woman s struggle with the decision of whether to maintain her comfortable, stable lif I received an advanced reading copy of this novel as part of the Goodreads First Reads program A Corner of the World by Myelene Fern ndez Pintado is a brief but interesting read Although its length is short and the story is purposefully spare, the novel as a whole doesn t suffer, giving off the feeling that the end product is exactly what the author anticipated to produce The story, at its very core, is a woman s struggle with the decision of whether to maintain her comfortable, stable life in the country she has always lived in or forsake familiarity in lieu of foreign opportunity It is a decision complicated by a passionate, consuming new romance a stone cast into a stagnant pool As the main character Marian struggles with her decision, the reader can glimpse the same indecision familiar to many modern Cubans through her appraisal of each side The best part of the novel is arguably how realistic the characters feel Every single one of them, even the minor characters, seems to be structured after a living, breathing habanero rather than a flat archetype The story also strikes a perfect balance between lighthearted romance and melancholy struggle The feeling of how small an island is and how vast the world is cannot be avoided while reading the novel the islander perspective brings about a graceful sense of realism.Speaking honestly, I would say the novel does not suffer any distracting flaws A few small typos or editing errors does little to detract from the story I did enjoy reading it very much, but I would rate it a 4 out of 5, being that the story feels simply pleasant, rather than impressive and engaging Overall, Ms Pintado s novel is a charming stroll through the modern Havanan psyche, peppered with realistic characters and encapsulated by a worldly perspective


  10. Judy G Judy G says:

    someone raved about this book so I got it from our Public Library in San Francisco It was published by a highly respected place City Lights Bookstore I did not like this book why did he like it with such a passion It is interesting to read book by someone in Cuba and that is in Cuba Havana For me it was disjointed and there was a strength that was lost in the telling It is by and about a woman who is a professor in a university I think and her subject is Language and Literature The charact someone raved about this book so I got it from our Public Library in San Francisco It was published by a highly respected place City Lights Bookstore I did not like this book why did he like it with such a passion It is interesting to read book by someone in Cuba and that is in Cuba Havana For me it was disjointed and there was a strength that was lost in the telling It is by and about a woman who is a professor in a university I think and her subject is Language and Literature The character and the author may be the same woman Marian is the character The author is Mylene Fernandez Pintado.I just read that the author was trained in Law.She created the character Marian and I found nothing about her to like to admire to connect with as I read this It is a book about loss and how she loses a young man she loves and her loss of her motherI think for me said simply the book is missing depth