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The Oval Portrait book coverThe Oval Portrait

by Soleida Ríos and Margaret Randall

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Paperback, 212 pages


The Oval Portrait was originally published as El retrato ovalado (Ediciones Union, Havana, Cuba, 2015). Editor Soleida Ríos set a difficult task for herself and nearly three dozen other Cuban women writers, artists, and thinkers. She asked each to "choose a mask. With it she spins her story so that her own image appears in the story as well as the connection (always mysterious) and the symbol with which she has chosen to represent herself." The result, beyond being a postmodernist tour de force, was "a perfect vehicle for introspection." As Ríos herself puts it: "The game requires us to go deep.... Shall we say: Rather than a portrait, construct a mirror, through which you may touch the difficult and shared places. And then, at the end, ask yourself the question: Which are your favorite lies?"

By way of example, Jamila Medina Ríos writes in her piece: "I know (I have learned it well) the fate of my grandmother and her aunts, the fate of María and my mother, the blossoms of mythical women and women poets, of female warriors, of weak women and of the famous. My head shaved so as not to intimidate her with my abundant hair."

Writers and artists in The Oval Portrait include: Jamila Medina Ríos, Azucena Isabel Plasencia, Caridad Atencio, Laura Ruíz Montes, Nara Mansur, Teresita Burgos, Damaris Calderón, Amalia Iduate, Legna Rodríguez Iglesias, Dazra Novak, Cirenaica Moreira, Margarita Mateo Palmer, Irela Casañas, Charo Guerra, Georgina Herrera, Adelaida de Juan, Soleida Ríos, Adriana Normand, Gina Picart, Lourdes González, Manelic R. Ferret, Yannis Lobaina, Ruth Behar, Gertrudis Ortiz, Marcela López Gravina, Lizabel Mónica, Basilia Paspatamatíu, Reina María Rodríguez, Soleida Ríos and Jamila M. Ríos, Lía Villares, Zurelys López Amaya, Olga Marta Pérez, Mylene Fernández Pintado, Rocío Santillana, Darsi Fernández Maceira, and Sandra Ramy.

The Oval Portrait has been exquisitely translated into English by Margaret Randall. As she writes: "In an era of special interest media and superficial travelogues, I believe The Oval Portrait offers readers a uniquely profound glimpse of the Cuban psyche.

Critical Praise

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Buy This Book : $16.95

ISBN 978-1-60940-557-1 9781609405571
US $16.95
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