Celina or the Cats

Overview

Layered in meaning and resonating with the subtle complexities of being human, the six stories in this charming collection introduce varied characters and explore the question of what objective reality could be, addressing the ties between language, relationships, and the narrative process. There is the physician's wife who retreats further into a world she has created with cats in response to their failing marriage, a young girl who details the events of her doll's baptism, a woman attempting to recall...

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Overview

Layered in meaning and resonating with the subtle complexities of being human, the six stories in this charming collection introduce varied characters and explore the question of what objective reality could be, addressing the ties between language, relationships, and the narrative process. There is the physician's wife who retreats further into a world she has created with cats in response to their failing marriage, a young girl who details the events of her doll's baptism, a woman attempting to recall her past while blocking out the memories she would rather forget, and multiple generations of domestic life in Cuba.

"Translation of Celina o los gatos (1968), a collection of five short stories linking the cat with mystery, reality, and narrative by the Cuban-born narrator who resides in Mexico. Her introductory essay explores symbolism of cats in life and art. Skillfull translations of four stories by Chambers and another by Kathleen Ross recommend the collection"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 58.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The six pieces here are enjoyable…and top-notch translations render them in fluid English."  —Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Born in Cuba and a resident of Mexico since 1955, Campos is the author of The Fear of Losing Eurydice and the Xavier Villarutia Prize-winning She Has Reddish Hair and Her Name Is Sabina. The six pieces here are enjoyable, if not urgent, and top-notch translations render them in fluid English. In the title story, the narrator, a successful physician, recalls the disintegration of his marriage of 13 years. He describes his wife, Celina, her neediness and his growing distance, which forces her to retreat into herself and a room filled with cats. A young girl named Natalia anticipates ``The Baptism'' of her doll, Michel, and relates the details of the moment in believably childlike prose ``It's strange to feel how wet her feet are and the sharp, biting grass beneath her soles. She runs with her eyes shut''. A woman named Alda, for whom time stopped on August 20, 1933, tries to recall her past and to block out unpleasant memories in ``All the Roses,'' while snapshots of generations of domestic activity are found in ``The House'' in Havana. Campos's introductory essay, ``On Cats and Other World,'' is a bit fluttery, but its description of cats ``those soft, ripping, cruel, delicate beings, those solitary nocturnal, always unpredictable beings that inject our everyday world with the sphere of the unknown'' says much about the layers of meaning in her writing. Nov.
Library Journal
Campos, an award-winning Cuban-Mexican writer of poetic fiction and literary criticism, brings together five thematically related short stories prefaced by an essay, "On Cats and Other Worlds." First issued in Spanish in 1967, this is not a collection of cat stories. Campos uses the short story form to explore the natures of reality, of women, and of narrative itself. "The City" describes an almost cinematically fading Havana. "The Baptism" explores childhood reality within a frame imposed by adults. The male narrator of the title story attempts, without success, to comprehend his wife's obsessions and the failure of their marriage. Campos also has two novels in English, She Has Reddish Hair and Her Name Is Sabina Univ. of Georgia Pr., 1993 and The Fear of Losing Eurydice LJ 1/93, both also translated by Chambers. Ross, who teaches at New York University, has translated numerous works by Latin American writers and coedited Scents of Wood and Silence: Short Stories by Latin American Women Writers LJ 1/92. For Latin American literature collections.-Mary Margaret Benson, Linfield Coll. Lib., McMinnville, Ore.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780935480726
  • Publisher: Latin American Literary Review Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1995
  • Series: Discoveries Series
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 5.34 (w) x 8.42 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Julieta Campos was a Cuban-Mexican author and a former director of the PEN chapter in Mexico. She was a writer of fiction, literary criticism, and a translator, and her novel Tiene los cabellos rojizos y se llama Sabina won the prestigious Xavier Villarutia award. Leland H. Chambers is an award-winning translator and an emeritus professor of English and comparative literature at the University of Denver, where he was the editor of the literary magazine Denver Quarterly. He lives in Denver, Colorado.

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