A Greek Love
A Novel of Cuba
Zoé Valdés, David Frye
- 144 Pages
- May 2, 2023
- ISBN: 9781956763409
- Trim Size: 5.5in x 8.25in x 0in
For readers of Isabel Allende, Gabriela Garcia, and Julia Alvarez, the story of a woman who must fight for her love and her child in a Cuba suffocated by oppression
A free spirit who spends time near the port of Havana, where her friend Osiris is known as the “Greek sailormen's whore,” teenager Zé becomes pregnant after a brief love affair with a captain's son her age. By the time she realizes her condition, the ship has left and the boy is gone. In her father's Cuba, an unwed teenage mother is a source of scandal and shame and a threat to his ambitions in the Party. He disowns her and brutally throws her out of her home. Led by her mother, she leaves the city for refuge in Matanzas, a university town rich in Afro-Cuban culture, where her mother's sister, a music scholar, lives and where she will raise her child mentored by these three older women—aunt, mother, and Osiris.
Years later, Zé’s son, Petros, has become a world-class musician bridging Cuban and Greek traditions, while Zé has become a scholar herself. When a recording executive invites Petros to give concerts in Greece, Zé seeks permission from the authorities to leave the island and accompany him. Secretly—a secret they guard from the authorities and her father, now a Party stalwart—they both nourish the hope of somehow finding Petros’s father and Zé’s one great, lost love.
With echoes of the breakout novel that made Zoé Valdés an international literary star, A Greek Love is a tale of passion, endurance, and hope—and a woman's tenacious love.
David Frye teaches anthropology and Latin American culture and society at the University of Michigan. As a professional translator he has published more than thirty books in translation, ranging from Heart of Tango (2010) by the Spanish novelist Elia Barceló and the sixteenth-century picaresque novel Lazarillo de Tormes (2015) to the poetry of Nancy Morejón. He resides in Ann Arbor.
"[A Greek Love is] a deceptively simple book, like all things Cuban. Zoé Valdés is so good at shining a light on the pages that are not there by showing us the ones that are. Her Cuban characters are brave, but they are also, realistically, a product of a totalitarian regime where silence is survival. All of that is present in this short page-turner. As is, of course, in true Valdés fashion: love."—Vanessa Garcia, author of White Light
“Unforgettable.”—Daniel Fernández, Nuevo Heraldo
"This novel lifts a song of hope."—Le Soir
"Zé, as is often the case with Zoé Valdés's characters, incarnates—along with a naturalness and spontaneity of spirit that are her strength as well as her weakness—a force of life that refuses to be contained, a call to freedom, a take on the world that evades constricting codes and other shackles."—Le Matricule des Anges
“This beautifully-written novella packs so much into so few pages! I loved the peek into Cuban life, as well as all the lovely descriptive details the author included.”—Hello Little Home
Praise for A WEEPING WOMAN, winner of the Azorín Prize
"The Weeping Woman interweaves present and past with intelligence and humor . . . Many of the leading Parisian avant-gardists—Guillaume Apollinaire, Leonor Fini, Juan Gris, Max Jacob, Wifredo Lam, André Lhote, Kiki de Montparnasse, Man Ray—are conjured with fidelity and charm." —The New York Times Book Review
"If you're looking for a book that portrays flaws, anger, human suffering, exile, trauma, sex, and survival—pick up Valdés's book. She brings Dora into the light, and reveals the debilitating power so often afforded to men to crush and break women, and how women prevail."—Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas
"We are steeped in the history, drama, and even mundaneness of the Surrealist era, with a colorful cast of characters that includes Man Ray, Paul Éluard, and the master himself, Picasso. . . . Valdés reveals Maar to be more than just Picasso's model for his portrait The Weeping Woman but an inspiring artist in her own right." —Booklist
"Zoé Valdés rescues Dora Maar from Picasso's clutches." —ABC
"The Weeping Woman is a book about 'someone who separates herself from her work to dedicate herself to genius.'" —El País
"Zoé Valdés is a very important Cuban writer who lives in exile in France. She is very well known in the Spanish-speaking community for the quality of her work and for her courageous fight against Cuban dictatorship in particular and, in general, her criticism of all authoritarian and totalitarian regimes, and for her permanent defense of human rights and journalists and writers who are persecuted all over the world."—Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and the Miguel de Cervantes Prize