Saturday, July 18, 2015

Spanish Lit Month, 2015

This is an exciting event co-hosted every year by Richard @ Caravana de Recuerdos and Stu @ Winstonsdad's Blog. This year, not only will books by Spanish-speaking authors be featured, but books by Catalan-speaking authors, as well. 

The event is taking place during the month of July (I'm late posting about it, but then, I found out about this very recently), and every participant will be reading these novels, either in the original language, or in translation. I'm very excited to be participating for the first time this year!

The book I will be reading (which I've already started) and reviewing is La Isla de los Amores Infinitos (The Island of Eternal Love), by Cuban author Daina Chaviano. Although I do speak Spanish, I will be reading the English translation, in order to facilitate the Goodreads posting about the book.

Here's more information about this novel, which I am enjoying tremendously so far.

The Island of Eternal Love
Daina Chaviano
Hardcover, 336 pages
Riverhead Books, First Edition
June 12, 2008
Contemporary Fiction, Cuban Literature,
Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction,
Magic Realism, Romance

Book Synopsis
A magical new novel "of loss and love across more than a century of Cuba's past."(Chicago Sun-Times)

In an effort to escape her solitude in Miami, Cecilia seeks refuge in a bar where she meets Amalia, a mysterious old woman whose fascinating tale keeps Cecilia returning night after night. Her powerful story of long-vanished epochs weaves the saga of three families from far-flung pieces of the world. A suicide in China unleashes a chain of family reactions; a strange curse pursues certain women in a Spanish town; and a young woman is seized from her home on the African coast and transported to an unfamiliar world. These characters' lives will become entwined over time, from Cuba under Spanish colonial rule to the present day. Ardent, predestined loves from the past will gain renewed strength in Cecilia, who is also obsessed by the mystery of a phantom house that appears and disappears throughout the city of Miami, and whose secret she is attempting to discover.

The Goodreads link shows an ebook, which is actually incorrect. The cover shown does not exist in an ebook edition. It's actually the hardcover. I know, because I own this novel.

 Below is the cover of the original Spanish-language edition, published by Grijalbo in 2006, which I also happen to own. I intend to read it on my own after I finish the English-language edition.

Links for Spanish Lit Month, 2015

I would encourage anyone interested in Spanish-language and/or Catalan-language literature to join in, as there's still time to do so! Happy Reading!!



Brian Joseph said...

I love these reading events. Unfortunately as I am a bit tied up with other things this month I could not participate. I really like the idea that Catalan speaking authors are included.

This book sounds so good. The concept of the mysterious house seems interesting and no doubt very meaningful. Of course the characters and human interactions are really the things that drive such works.

I look forward to read your detailed thoughts on this one.

Maria Behar said...

Hey, Brian!

Oh, I love them as well! And I agree with you -- it's great that Catalan-speaking authors are also included.

I fell in love with this novel when I read the plot synopsis on Goodreads! It seems to have all the ingredients necessary to make it totally unforgettable! And, as I'm reading, I am being pulled further and further into a fascinating world! Besides, I can completely relate to Cecilia, the main character, although I was much younger when I first came to Miami. I can relate to her nostalgia for Cuba, to her feeling of alienation in a new country, at least to some extent.

Another thing I like about this book is the supernatural element. Like Cecilia, I have some interest in the paranormal myself. The haunted disappearing house is something I've never encountered in fiction before, and it really intrigues me!

Yet another fascinating aspect of the book is the mixing of ethnic groups. This is something that's very typical of Cuba. I vaguely remember that there was some sort of 'Chinatown' in Havana, although I don't think I ever went there. There were also a lot of black people in Cuba. Unfortunately, there was also some racism.

Overall, I was strongly drawn to this book! The fact that the author is Cuban herself, of course, was also a very compelling reason!

Thanks so much for the nice comment!! : )

Richard said...

Belated thanks for joining Spanish Lit Month 2015, Maria, as well as your enthusiasm for the event! I hope Chaviano's novel continues to be a good read for you and I look forward to your eventual review of it. Also, in case you haven't heard, Stu and I decided to keep Spanish Lit Month going through the end of August--so there's plenty more time for more SLM selections for you and Brian should you two care to find a good book or two for August. Cheers!

Maria Behar said...

Hey, Richard!

Oh, AWESOME news!! As a matter of fact, I'm not quite done with "The Island of Eternal Love" as yet, so I'm very glad to have a few more days! I really appreciate that you and Stu have decided to extend this event, which I will make sure to participate in every year henceforth! And I will try to fit in another book, like perhaps Isabel Allende's "The House of the Spirits". Thanks so much!! Cheers back!! : )