Helen Hernández Hormilla has really done it now… In the dedication of her new book, Mujeres en crisis: Aproximaciones a lo femenino en las narradoras cubanas de los noventa (Women in Crisis: Nearing the feminine in the cuban women narrators of the 90’s), Hernández Hormilla thanks her mother for having taught her to disobey. Clearly, with this volume Hernández Hormilla joins the ranks of the mouthy, irreverent, disrespectful and too-smart-for-their-own-good Cuban women who just don’t know their place.
Or maybe it is that Hernández Hormilla does know her place, and the much deserved (but less ofte
n encountered) pride of place of the wonderfully disobedient writers who have been flouting their feminine wit and brilliance all over the island. So much says noted critic Zaida Capote Cruz in a brief but pointed prologue. In what can only be read as a proper warning to those in control, she says “every time that the country goes through a difficult moment, the patriarchal vigilance weakens” (15, my translation). And what ground may be lost by a waning and outdated system is being gained by the intrepid and unapologetic encroachment by the women currently in the limelight in Cuba.
In a volume of analysis that has won the UNEAC first prize for essay this year, Hernández Hormilla delves into the theoretical underpinning that most informs the women literati of the island, the canonical context of the current women’s writing movement (if it can be called thus), and representations of women by women in this era.
Let it be noted that three of the authors that she rates as the most outstanding of contemporary Cuban women writers already are being published by Cubanabooks: Mirta Yáñez, Nancy Alonso, and Aída Bahr. Of course, Cubanabooks gives preference to women who are outspoken and impossible to tame. With any luck we can scoop the rest of the naughty wenches as well.
Long live the wayward and willful women of Cuba, and the world!
(Published in Havana by Publicaciones Acuario, Centro Félix Varela, 2011)
Also check out Ivette Romero-Cesareo and Lisa Paravisini-Gebert’s post on their blog Repeating Islands, News and commentary on Caribbean culture, literature, and the arts. http://repeatingislands.com/2011/11/13/new-book-helen-hernandez-hormilla’s-“mujeres-en-crisis”/