Distant Palaces

Distant Palaces

Abilio Estevez

Abilio Estevez

With passion and eloquence, master craftsman Abilio Estevez brings to life the mysterious, broken down city of Havana on the eve of the new millennium. Victorio, a lonely, middle-aged gay man, awakes to the news that the ancient palace where he rents a tiny apartment is scheduled to be demolished, leaving him homeless. Wandering the streets in search of a new place to call his own, he meets two unusual people who are destined to change his life: Salma, a young prostitute, and Don Fuco, an eccentric old clown who brings both of them to live in his own refuge, an abandoned theater. In a city riddled with conflict and no longer tolerant of outcasts, the pair find solace in one another and in the dilapidated theater that shelters them, and a renewed joy in their collective abilities to entertain people with their clowning. But when the harsh realities of life intrude on their self-contained utopia, Victorio and Salma are forced back out into the streets, where they struggle to keep...
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Thine is the Kingdom

Thine is the Kingdom

Abilio Estevez

Abilio Estevez

Reading Abilio Estevez's Thine Is the Kingdom is a little like attending a cocktail party blindfolded: a million conversations are all happening at the same time and you have to work to figure out just who's talking. But this remarkable novel out of Cuba is worth the extra effort. Set in a run-down enclave of pre-Castro Havana known as the Island, the story follows the fortunes of its residents through a magical realist dreamscape of fantasy, history, life, death, love, and the weather. There is the crazy Barefoot Countess; the pastry vendor, Merengue; and the bookstore owner Rolo. There is Miss Berta who lives with her always sleeping 90-year-old mother, Dona Juana, and Irene who lives with her not-yet-out-of-the-closet gay son, Lucio. Professor Kingston, the Jamaican English teacher; Casta Diva, a would-be opera singer; Chavito, the carver of poor imitations of classical statues; Vido, the adolescent voyeur; Mercedes and her blind sister Marta who dreams of Florence—the...
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