Maria Matienzo Puerto

Yours is my kingdom.

HAVANA TIMES — I just read a book that’s chaotic, at least in appearance. Tuyo es el reino (Yours Is the Kingdom), by Abilio Estevez, was on my nightstand for months waiting in my line of books to be read. But if I had known how good it was, I swear it would have been among the first.

Now I’ve read it and I have no regrets.

A book full of symbols, it shows that the author is one of our greatest. Abilio Estevez now lives in the United States, and I don’t know what his relationship with Cuba is.

That’s to say, I don’t know if he can come to and leave Cuba easily, but I’ll be visiting again and again the piece of land that he describes in his novel as being “the island.”

Sex, madness, encounters and farewells, life and death are all in a Cuba of the 1950s that could be in this century, the Cuba of today…and the sea is everywhere.

The edition I read was published in 1998 by UNEAC Union (the Writers and Artists Association of Cuba).

However reading Abilio Estevez only heightened my curiosity. My need is simple: I want to know what (who and how) Cubans living outside the country are writing.

I’m not making any kind of fuss. It’s just that we don’t even get a line from what’s printed abroad. Sure, lots of international bestsellers are published here, but what about works by other Cubans?

Are they all washing dishes? Are all of them thinking about how to return? None of them are creating? None of them are writing literature?

These are only rhetorical questions. Of course there must be a lot of creative Cubans out there, in many parts of the world. So why are almost none of them published here? How I can I get what they publish?

How long will it take to see us all together, at least in words? Who do we have to wait for? How long will our literary references remain without these names?

I’m speaking of literature. I’m talking about and for those people who don’t have access to Facebook (or any of the other social networks) but are interested in knowing what’s being done abroad.

For the kingdom to be everyone’s, I only want to repeat what Leopold the cat asked: “Are we going to be friends?

Maria Matienzo

Maria Matienzo Puerto: I dreamed once that I was a butterfly who had come from Africa and discovered that I had been alive for thirty years. From that time on, I constructed my world while I was sleeping: I was born in a magic city like Havana; I dedicated myself to journalism; I wrote and edited books for children; I met to discuss art with wonderful people; I fell in love with a woman. Of course, there are certain points of coincidence with the reality of my waking life and it’s that I prefer the silence of reading and the pleasure of a good movie.

8 thoughts on “Yours Is My Kingdom

  • This is a very nice collection of contemporary Cuban writing:

    “Dream with No Name: Contemporary Fiction from Cuba”

    Most of the authors lived and worked in Cuba, a few emigrated. What stands out is the fact that Cuban literature is very much part of the world of literature, not an isolated culture. All the trends in contemporary fiction, from literary to popular fiction, can be found among Cuban writers. Even those stories which deal with local Cuban issues are easily comprehended by readers around the world.

  • Abilio Estevez’s book has been published in English under the title “Thine is the Kingdom”

    The phrase is derived, of course, from the Lord’s Prayer:

    Our Father who art in heaven,
    hallowed be thy name.
    Thy kingdom come.
    Thy will be done
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread,
    and forgive us our trespasses,
    as we forgive those who trespass against us,
    and lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.
    For thine is the kingdom,
    and the power, and the glory,
    for ever and ever.

  • Estévez is an exceptional writer, though I like Los palacios distantes better than Tuyo es el reino. Unlike his first novel, Los palacios distantes was not published in Cuba. Hopefully a copy can find its way into your hands, María. And we look forward to the day when you on the island have access to the work of your fellow Cubans living abroad.

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