Self-Portrait of the Other

Self-Portrait of the Other

by Heberto Padilla

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The autobiography of Cuba's finest poet, whose condemnation by the Castro regime became a cause celebre.

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The autobiography of Cuba's finest poet, whose condemnation by the Castro regime became a cause celebre.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``Where the paths of poetry and politics cross, there is little room for reconciliation,'' observes the author. Allowed to leave Cuba in 1981 following a decade in disfavor with the Castro regime, this distinguished Cuban poet offers a memoir of his experiences between 1959 and 1981, first within, then estranged from, the Cuban revolution and its ethos. Intellectuals alienated from the Castro government who have told their stories tend to sound spiteful and illiberal, like Cabrera Infante; Padilla takes pains to do better. His style is clear, sometimes witty, often bitter, persevering but not burdensome, and evincing an occasional affinity with both Orwell and Hemingway. The right will doubtless celebrate his description of the Cuban security apparatus and his negative assessment of Castro's intellectual and moral integrity, but the regime's sympathizers will find something constructive, if disturbing, in Padilla's meditations on Castro's failure to do more than assign artists and writers a sharply circumscribed PR mission. Padilla also is at home talking literary shop about writers such as Camus, Yevtushenko et al. (Jan.)
Library Journal
This is a memoir not only of one of Cuba's best-known contemporary poets and novelists ( Legacies: Selected Poems , LJ 1/1/82; Heroes Are Grazing in My Garden , LJ 9/15/84) but also of the major literary personalities of the 20th century, from Sartre to Garcia Marquez. The book spans Padilla's career, from his ardent early support of the revolution to his subsequent imprisonment and ostracism by the Castro regime. The Padilla affair of 1968, when the Castro government would not permit Padilla to accept the international Writers' Union poetry prize, became a cause celebre for American and European writers, through whose intervention Padilla now lives in the United States. Worthy reading for those interested in contemporary literature.-- Mary Margaret Benson, Linfield Coll. Lib., McMinnville, Ore.

Product Details

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Heberto Padilla and his wife, poet Belkis Cuza Male, divided their time between Princeton, New Jersey, and Madrid, Spain.

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