A Corner of the World

A Corner of the World
Translated by Dick Cluster

Publishers Weekly

"[Mylene Fernández-Pintado's] talent for characterization and deep knowledge of Cuban history shines through."––Publishers Weekly

"Learning from Pete Seeger"
Aug 31, 2015

Dick Cluster, translator of A Corner of the World and other Cuban works, talks about Pete Seeger's influence on how he approaches translation of Cuban literature.

"A literary translation example involves something I encountered in Mylene Fernández's novel La esquina del mundo, where there's a complicated pun that involves an image of a hawker in the streets of Baghdad with a basket of Cuban boniatos on his head. I resolved the pun via a substitute pun that works in English, but I kept the boniato in Spanish because it says to the reader: this is Cuba, and if you don’t know what type of vegetable that is, then maybe there are other things you don’t know as well — and because a boniato does not feel or look or taste like a North American sweet potato, no matter how often it’s translated that way."

- Dick Cluster

Kirkus Reviews

"Fernández-Pintado's novel, capably translated by Cluster, challenges the tropes and stereotypes inherent in much of the literature about Cuba to add a new perspective … A sharp, funny blend of politics and romance that strikes out in a new direction."––Kirkus Reviews


"As one of the first female-authored novels to make its way out of Cuba, Mylene Fernández-Pintado's daring, deeply felt tale of a reticent Spanish literature professor presented with opportunities for love, life, and a far-flung future perfectly captures the Faustian bargain faced by so many contemporary Cubans. Weaving together threads of love, loyalty, home, and hope, Fernández-Pintado crafts a story of uncommon intensity and irresistible passion, a modern masterpiece that breathes new life into the literature of and about the illusive island."––Hannah Nelson-Teutsch

Los Angeles Review of Books

"A Corner of the World explores the irreconcilable rift created between a couple—a young writer and a professor of literature—when one wants to leave, and the other does not. While everyone in Cuba knows someone who has left, stories told from the perspective of a narrator who, like Fernández, would never leave without a return ticket, are not ones often heard in the US."––Lea Aschkenas

Review: Literature and Arts in the Americas

"Fernández-Pintado artfully reveals the impact of Cuba's socialist system on individuals’ sense of belonging … poignantly rendered throughout her novel … As the story unfolds, the professor coaxed out of her shell through a romantic liaison with a younger bohemian writer, we also get brief and profound digressions about such universal topics as violence, depression, and anxiety, as well poignant reflections upon women and guilt, a sense that being sexual as well as intellectual is entirely provocative, and upon the complicated relationship of parenting, legacy, and health on the individual and national levels. In these ways, A Corner of the World transcends its Cuban backdrop, and emerges as a beautiful and painful love story inhabiting other novels."––Jacqueline Loss, Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas

"The Melancholy Muse: Mylene Fernández Pintado on Stories, Sentinels, and Staying in Cuba"
Jun 20, 2015

A profile and interview with Mylene Fernández-Pintado, author of A Corner of the World, touching her life as a writer in Cuba, her U.S. tour in the Fall of 2014, and more.
"Fernández's works have been translated into numerous languages from Italian to Icelandic, but her most recent novel, A Corner of the World (City Lights Books, 2014), which tells the story of a couple with irreconcilable differences (he wants to leave Cuba; she wants to stay), is her first to be translated into English. During this historic time of changing US-Cuban relations, A Corner of the World is also one of the rare books published in the US by a writer currently living in Cuba, opening a new window into the island for American readers."

- Los Angeles Review of Books

Underrated Reads

"There is so much to love about A Corner of the World. What particularly drew me in is the colorful setting of contemporary Havana. Though today's Cuba is still a mystery to most Americans, rapid change is occurring. That said, Marian appreciates some of what the first world considers an inconvenience, like '…caller ID is a very scarce service here, a completely unnecessary luxury, so one’s anonymity is almost always guaranteed. One of the advantages of underdevelopment: mystery.’"

New West Indian Guide

"Mylene Fernández-Pintado's A Corner of the World, translated by Dick Cluster, weaves an absorbing tale of love, literature, and university teaching in which Havana plays the central role, from its dilapidated Moskovitches (just like Nancy Morejón's real life model) to the never-ending allure of European or American exile. It's a view from the Malecón that rings true."––New West Indian Guide

"9 Books About Cuba to Celebrate Normalization of American-Cuban Relations"

A Corner of the World chosen by Bustle as one of the best books about Cuba, in light of the normalization of American-Cuban relations.

- Hannah Nelson-Teutsch, Bustle

Reading in Translation

"Dick Cluster renders Marian's confiding, conversational voice into a flexible and engaging English prose that fully does justice to Fernández-Pintado’s appealing narrator. By turns chatty and buoyant, searching and lyrical, Marian offers a glimpse into a contemporary Cuba that is partially opened, half-changed … Perhaps more powerful than anything penned by its characters is the novel itself, a love letter to the city of Havana in all its chaos, complexity, and beauty."––Charlotte Whittle

"A Corner of the World: Interview with Author Mylene Fernández-Pintado [Parts I & II]"
Oct 20, 2014

Mylene Fernández Pintado has been writing and publishing in Cuba, winning prizes and readers, since 1994. Her latest novel, La esquina del mundo, has just been published by City Lights as A Corner of the World, translated by Dick Cluster. Cluster's other new Cuban translation is Pedro de Jesús's Vital Signs, released this month by Diálogos Press in New Orleans. During Mylene’s recent visit to San Francisco, author and translator put together the following mutual interview about her work, their translation process, and more. Mylene’s responses, which were in Spanish, are translated by Dick.

- Kaija Straumanis, Three Percent

"'The mechanic & the professor', an excerpt from Mylene Fernández-Pintado’s A Corner of the World"
Jun 12, 2014

An excerpt from the first chapter of A Corner of the World appears in the "Cuba Today" section of Cuba Absolutely.

- Mylene Fernández-Pintado (translated by Dick Cluster), Cuba Absolutely