Havana Noir

Havana Noir Brand new stories by Leonardo Padura Pablo Medina Alex Abella Arturo Arango Lea Aschkenas Moises Asis Arnaldo Correa Mabel Cuesta Yohamna Depestre Michel Encinosa Fu Mylene Fernandez Pintado

  • Title: Havana Noir
  • Author: Achy Obejas
  • ISBN: 9781933354385
  • Page: 451
  • Format: Paperback
  • Brand new stories by Leonardo Padura, Pablo Medina, Alex Abella, Arturo Arango, Lea Aschkenas, Moises Asis, Arnaldo Correa, Mabel Cuesta, Yohamna Depestre, Michel Encinosa Fu, Mylene Fernandez Pintado, Carolina Garcia Aguilera, Miguel Mejides, Achy Obejas, Oscar F Ortiz, Ena Lucia Portela, Mariela Varona Roque, and Yoss To most outsiders, Havana is a tropical sin city Brand new stories by Leonardo Padura, Pablo Medina, Alex Abella, Arturo Arango, Lea Aschkenas, Moises Asis, Arnaldo Correa, Mabel Cuesta, Yohamna Depestre, Michel Encinosa Fu, Mylene Fernandez Pintado, Carolina Garcia Aguilera, Miguel Mejides, Achy Obejas, Oscar F Ortiz, Ena Lucia Portela, Mariela Varona Roque, and Yoss To most outsiders, Havana is a tropical sin city a Roman ruin of sex and noise, a parallel universe familiar but exotic, and embargoed enough to serve as a release valve for whatever desire or pulse has been repressed or denied Habaneros know that this is neither new long before Havana collapsed during the Revolution s Special Period, all the way back to colonial times, it had already been the destination of choice for foreigners who wanted to indulge in what was otherwise forbidden to them nor particularly true.In the real Havana the lawless Havana that never appears in the postcards or tourist guides the concept of sin has been banished by the urgency of need And need aching and hungry inevitably turns the human heart darker, feral, and criminal In this Havana, crime, though officially vanquished by revolutionary decree, is both wistfully quotidian and personally vicious.In the stories of Havana Noir, current and former residents of the city some international sensations such as Leonardo Padura, others exciting new voices like Yohamna Depestre uncover crimes of violence and loveless sex, of mental cruelty and greed, of self preservation and collective hysteria.Achy Obejas is the award winning author of Days of Awe, Memory Mambo, and We Came all the Way from Cuba So You Could Dress Like This Her poems, stories, and essays have appeared in dozens of anthologies A long time contributor to the Chicago Tribune, she was part of the 2001 investigative team that earned a Pulitzer Prize for the series, Gateway to Gridlock Currently, she is the Sor Juana Writer in Residence at DePaul University in Chicago She was born in Havana Praise for Havana Noir Miami Herald, 11 25 07Sewer dwelling dwarves who run a black market An engineer moonlighting as a beautician to make ends meet Street toughs pondering existentialism An aging aristocrat with an unsolvable dilemma A Chinese boy bent on avenging his father s death.These are the characters you will meet in this remarkable collection, the latest edition of an original noir series featuring stories set in a distinct neighborhood of a particular city Throughout these 18 stories, current and former residents of Havana some well known, some previously undiscovered deliver gritty tales of depravation, depravity, heroic perseverance, revolution and longing in a city mythical and widely misunderstood.This is noir of a different shade and texture, shadowy and malevolent, to be sure, but desperate, too, heartbreakingly wounded, the stories linked by the acrid pall of a failed but seemingly interminable experiment than by genre Ambiguities abound, and ingenuity flourishes even as morality evaporates in the daily struggle for self preservation.In this dark light the best of these stories are also the most disturbing What For, This Burden by Michel Encinosa Fu, a resident of Havana, is a brutal and wrenching tale of brothers involved in drug deals and child prostitution they peddle their own sister The Red Bridge, by Yoss, another Havana resident, depicts a violent incident in the lives of two friends with apparently great potential who, though acutely aware of the depravity of their situation, are powerless or unwilling to extract themselves from the mean streets of El Patio.Cuban engineer Mariela Varona Roque s offering, The Orchid, is a short but powerful tale of the demise of a young boy frequently entrusted to the care of a browbeaten neighbor obsessed with his solitary orchid.Isolation, poverty and despair even in the midst of friends and family, lead to unthinkable cruelty, a common thread in these and other stories But just as prevalent are resilience, hope, honor and ferocious devotion to the island Pablo Mendina s Johnny Ventura s Seventh Try centers on the oft repeated theme of getting to La Yuma, the United States After six failures a man succeeds in building a boat sturdy enough to safely cross the Straits, only to find himself turning in circles in excruciating angst once out of the water.Alone in a decaying building overlooking the Malecon, a woman in Mylene Fernandez Pintado s The Scene sustains a semblance of quiet elegance for her dying mother Then she s free but decides to stay on the island rather than join her brother in San Francisco And in Carolina Garcia Aguilera s beautifully rendered The Dinner, an elderly gentleman, his wife and a servant who hasn t been paid in 40 years agonize in their crumbling, once elegant mansion, over their inability to find the ingredients for an annual dinner for friends With faint echoes of The Gift of the Magi and perfectly bridging the pre and post revolution days, the story is achingly splendid.Several murder stories, including one about an arrogant serial killer egged on by a woman he phones to brag about his exploits, and a film noir style piece featuring a San Francisco private eye sent to bring out a thrill seeking rich kid on the eve of the revolution, round out the collection and justify its place in the series.But if you re looking for slick, moody, detective noir, sunsets, mojitos at La Florida, or dancing girls at La Tropicana, you won t find them in Havana Noir Along with grit and pluck and the disintegration of structure and values, there is an overarching sadness to these stories as evidenced by perhaps the most disturbing commonality repeated loveless, disconnected sex, including rape and incest, but often just mindless, pleasureless consensual copulation, all that s left to fill the time while waiting for something to change.South Florida Sun Sentinel, 12 2 07The streets of Havana teem with a diverse, complex people whose wants and needs are often neglected but who are connected by one ideal to have a good life.In this superb collection of short stories edited by novelist, poet and journalist Achy Obejas, myriad characters show just how far they will go for just a small part of the world and keep their dignity despite, as Obejas says, the damage inured by self preservation at all costs There s the cross eyed young man whose affliction prevents him from getting a job but who finds a kind of refuge with a black market dealing dwarf There s a Chinese boy trying to avenge his father And there s the woman tethered to Cuba by her dying mother.The 18 stories by current and former residents of Havana are gritty, heartbreaking and capture the city Each story an unflinching look at Havana, giving a sense of hope and hopelessness for what the city was and is now and could be again.Says Obejas in her introduction, In the real Havana the aphotic Havana that never appears in the postcards, tourist guides, or testimonies of either the political left or right the concept of sin has been banished by the urgency of need And need inevitably turns the human heart feral This is the kind of keen insight we ve come to expect from the Noir anthologies published by Akashic Each anthology features a different city, such as Balti, Miami, San Francisco and others, and acts as a mini guide to each area The compressed action, the layered plots and the character studies packed into just a few pages make short stories riveti

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    1 thought on “Havana Noir”

    1. Free e-book advent calendar from Akashic Books: Download Havana Noir for FREE until midnight, December 13, 2016!Comes in DRM-free mobi or epub, and you don't have to sign in or up for anything.

    2. Brand-new stories by: Leonardo Padura, Pablo Medina, Alex Abella, Arturo Arango, Lea Aschkenas, Moises Asis, Arnaldo Correa, Mabel Cuesta, Yohamna Depestre, Michel Encinosa Fu, Mylene Fernandez Pintado, Carolina Garcia-Aguilera, Miguel Mejides, Achy Obejas, Oscar F. Ortiz, Ena Lucia Portela, Mariela Varona Roque, and Yoss.?? To most outsiders, Havana is a tropical sin city: a Roman ruin of sex and noise, a parallel universe familiar but exotic, and embargoed enough to serve as a release valve fo [...]

    3. As with any anthology, some stuck with me and some missed the mark. Among the really great stories are "The Dinner" (an update on a classic story that's so famous it's a spoiler to name it) and "The Orchid." I once had a girlfriend who insisted that the 1998 film Very Bad Things was the epitome of film noir because it had black humor, and, you know, noir means black, and no evidence from decades of film scholarship could convince her otherwise. In a similar vein, the noir label gets stretched th [...]

    4. A decent, and often interesting, collection on short stories, though some I thought were borderline noir. About the usual percentage of ones I really liked and others I just dumped after a few pages. at least one was too brutal for me, the treatment of some young girls.

    5. (This review originally published in The Believer magazine, Feb '08.)In Lea Aschkenas’s “La Coca-Cola del Olvido,” one of eighteen stories collected in Havana Noir, drizzle turns to a downpour and “the few unfortunate souls still in the street ran as if on fire, intent on getting home before the dilapidated balconies above them began falling.” What makes the Havana of the seventeenth title in Akashic Books’ popular urban noir series so surly? Editor Achy Obejas writes in the introduc [...]

    6. A great translator makes all the difference. Achy Obejas does not disappoint. In addition to the noir theme, the stories give a good depiction of Cuban life in different decades.

    7. Good selection of contemporary Cuban short stories. What was most interesting was the dichotomy of the point of view between the Cubans still living in Habana and the expats. The former, seeing things as they are and being matter of fact. The latter, mostly being negative, pessimistic, and complaining.For me, the stories written by those still living on the island were more meaningful.

    8. From a series of noir anthologies by Akashic. Stories of despair, grit and lawlessness in the streets of Havana. If you're a noir fan (and even if you're not a noir fan)and looking for a bit of Cuban culture, then this book's for you. Moscow, London and Toronto are next on my list. Thanks for the recommendation, Daisy.

    9. I think Obejas could have cut out some of the stories and it would have been a much more enjoyable read. That said, there are some really creepy/excellent stories in this collection -- I'm thinking of "The Last Passenger" by Ena Lucia Portela and "Abiku" by Yohamna Depestre specifically.

    10. Like any short story collection, many of these stories are good and many are bad, unfortunately the best story in the collection is by Leanardo Padura who i am already familiary with.

    11. This anthology of new stories by Cuban writers has an amazing range of voices and seamless translations by Achy Obejas.

    12. Havana is a complicated city: it can be very dark and alienating. My favorites were the stories about the Special Period, where starvation pushed people to self-destruction beyond humiliation.

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