By Kobo Abe
The Woman in the Sand
Loneliness is a Thirst that Illusion Cannot Satisfy
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Ely, the wife of the “Godfather of Havana” undertakes the odyssey of leaving Cuba with her family at the start of the 1980s. An almost complete spectrum of the psychology of Cubans who have decided to leave (or not) parades through her home: marriages to former political prisoners; the months during the Mariel boatlift; the discrimination and ignorance that accompanies her; the opportunism; the avarice; the betrayal; the selfishness; and, on top of all that, the implosive nature of familial love, offered friendship, solidarity, genuine apathy, spontaneity, and genuine human interaction. The best, the worst and the moderate aspects of Cuban idiosyncrasy overwhelm Ely’s life, and are reflected in her family, friends and acquaintances, who parade through a text that is constructed with every page. The story of the internal and external exile of these characters incites us to change the gestalt, to identify with the whole as well as its parts; it constitutes a swipe to those who emigrate, about the challenges and the price of existence regardless of circumstance, and how the fruits of that existence cannot calm the strange thirst that illusion is unable to quench, according to the preface written by Japanese author Kobo Abe at the beginning of this novel.