Tales from the Cuban Empire
Translated by Cola Franzen
"In a Spartan voice, frugal and brave, Havana-based writer Antonio José Ponte becomes a skillful Scheherazade who spins a fantastic collection of short stories that reads like a Cuban 'Arabian Nights'."
"In this collection of stories, each told with a wild mania, the narrators, like Scheherazade, are desperate to save their lives by telling their story.... Each story loops back upon itself, arrives at an inconclusive end and should be read once more."
Los Angeles Times
"Unlike exiled writers who see the island as either a mythical homeland or a political cause, Ponte paints a picture that will strike the U.S. reader as surreal in its simplicity. . . . Cool, assured and quietly insightful, these tales provide rare glimpses into a Cuba often lost behind newspaper headlines."
"Ponte writes in a spare style more akin to Eastern European writers than anything usually associated with the bounty of the Caribberan, Cuban or otherwise. His sentences are short and sharp, his settings bleak and cold. . . . Smart and haunting . . ."
Village Voice Literary Supplement