Solitary characters, afflicted by real or fictitious fears… a world plagued with absurdities… exceptional stories, told through an ironic perspective with humor and cruelty. Llana stories are a mixture of fantasy, dark humor, and gothic comedy. These qualities are at the heart of Llana’s stories teeming with specters of every type, dramatic or ridiculous, but always efficiently suggestive of circumstances underlying what we take for reality. Her short stories contain a rich and thoroughly entertaining representation of a particular social class in Cuba during the last forty years: the bourgeoisie who struggled to maintain their social status and participated only by default in the construction of the new socialist society. Portraits of family and twisted gender roles abound, within a mysterious and uncanny domestic sphere that is unmistakably set in Havana.
About the Author:
María Elena Llana; translated by Barbara Riess
Born in the Cienfuegos province in 1936 and moved to Havana in 1940, María Elena Llana was educated in Catholic elementary and high schools and later studied journalism and art. In 1959, having graduated with a degree in journalism she worked in different areas of the press, fundamentally Prensa Latina. She specialized in cultural reporting and on Asia, visiting Europe and Latin America and working in Vietnam and China. Llana published her first collection of short stories in 1965. She continued writing during the seventies, but more for herself, as the state did not favor the magical or fantastic during those years. Llana’s experience writing radio programming set her up to teach radio writing in Cuba and in Mexico. Later, she continued her career as a journalist and short fiction writer. Llana’s work has been published widely in Cuba and in translation and has been the subject of doctoral theses in Cuba, Spain, United States and México and articles in literary journals such as the La Gaceta de Cuba and the Latin American Literary Review.