In contemporary Havana, "Do I stay or do I go?" is always the question, and love doesn't necessarily conquer all.
In the wake of her mother's recent death, Marian has been keeping to herself. A cautious, reserved professor of Spanish Literature, she 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 have.
Theirs 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. Their love affair is marked by the ever-present choice of staying on the island or migrating out, a choice Cubans face on a daily basis. The hope of a common future shatters into individual and incompatible goals, as the dilemma of "living or leaving" is confronted with humor, irony, and a dose of melancholy.
"This forthright and lyrical novel tears at our hearts with the dilemmas facing its characters and their city, from a perspective that can come only from a woman writer in in full consciousness of her gender. 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 Morejón, author of Looking Within: Selected Poems and Piedra Pulida
"Love in Havana, love found and mislaid. In thoughtfully chosen words—just those needed, and no more—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 Havana
"What I liked most about A Corner of the World, Mylene Fernández-Pintado's wonderful novel, is how superbly human it portrays its characters. They are neither political or apolitical, and both brave and uneasy, living in a 21st century Cuba that does not easily conform to expectation. A Corner of the World is about desires and dreams, and, of course, about love."—Achy Obejas, author of Days of Awe and Ruins
"No novel I have read in the past two years has attracted me as much as this one—for many reasons, but especially because it manages to capture within its few pages so many key elements of today's Cuba."—Cira Romero, La Jiribilla
"A captivating story of love, emigration, and separation in today's Cuba and today's world. Like the best of Truman Capote, another master of the short novel, Mylene Fernández gives us a cast of unforgettable characters: contradictory, complex, and human." —Fernando Pérez, director of Suite Habana, Life Is to Whistle, and Madagascar
"A Corner of the World is a story of a city and its people—a love story in which Havana is the ally and also the observer of its inhabitants. To that city Marian, the main character, is our guide, introducing us to settings and characters, to their hopes, frustrations, and rejections. Some live on memories, others take to the seaside Malecón to sustain their unfulfilled dreams. To read this book is to encounter one of the best and most intimate works of Cuban literature of the 21st century."—Mabel Cuesta, author of Cuba post-soviética: un cuerpo narrado en clave de mujer
"Seductive and sensitive, written in clear and direct prose, Mylene Fernández offers us a sad, erotic, tender, and sometimes ironic tale of passion and desertion. In this story, Havana is more than a backdrop—the city becomes a co-protagonist, a confidante, a point of departure and return, and of waiting. This novel is for anyone, anywhere, who cares about what other people lose and find. It's for readers curious about the interior adventures of their fellow human beings, adventures that come with literary pleasures and an alchemy of fiction and life."—Senel Paz, novelist and screen writer (Strawberry and Chocolate, Things I Left in Havana, In the Sky with Diamonds)
Mylene Fernández-Pintado's novels have won the Italo Calvino Prize and Cuba's Critics' Award. She currently lives between Havana and Lugano, Switzerland. This is the first of her works to be translated into English.