Tinísima

Overview

Tinisima tells the tumultuous, tragic story of the notorious Tina Modotti, an Italian refugee in the United States who went from working as a seamstress at I. Magnin's to acting in Hollywood, where she was known as "the exotic." Brilliant, beautiful, passionate, and promiscuous, Modotti modeled for Edward Weston, became his lover, and lived with him during the 1920s in Mexico. An accomplished photographer herself, she was committed to the cause of the working class, and turned into a militant member of the ...
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Overview

Tinisima tells the tumultuous, tragic story of the notorious Tina Modotti, an Italian refugee in the United States who went from working as a seamstress at I. Magnin's to acting in Hollywood, where she was known as "the exotic." Brilliant, beautiful, passionate, and promiscuous, Modotti modeled for Edward Weston, became his lover, and lived with him during the 1920s in Mexico. An accomplished photographer herself, she was committed to the cause of the working class, and turned into a militant member of the Mexican Communist Party. When she was accused of the murder of another lover, Cuban Julio Antonio Mella, she was made an instant cause celebre. The press dubbed her "the Mata Hari of the Comintern" and published nude photographs of her along with sensationalized accounts of her love affairs. Diego Rivera, who had also painted her nude in his murals, stepped forward to defend her. Deported from Mexico, Modotti fled to the U.S.S.R., where she forsook photography for politics and turned secret agent for the international revolutionary organization Red Aid.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An intensely imagined, sensuously detailed account of the extraordinary life of photographer and militant revolutionary Tina Modotti (1896-1942), this compelling novel reflects the political and social turbulence of the 1920s through the '40s as experienced by a brave and vibrant woman who was an intimate of some of the leading poets, writers, artists and politicians of her time. Modotti lived various roles in her passionate life: she was a seamstress in San Francisco, an actress in silent films, a student and lover of photographer Edward Weston, a model for Diego Rivera's murals, an agent for the Soviet Union and always a cultural, intellectual and political vivant whose sensuous spirit captivated men and, for a time, the entire Mexican population (they called her Tinisima, a diminutive of her name but also an endearment). Tracing Modotti's footsteps to California, Mexico, Berlin, Moscow and Spain, Poniatowska adroitly interprets history without marginalizing the lyricism of Modotti's tragic quest for identity and true love. In Mexico in 1929, young Cuban revolutionary Julio Antonio Mella is assassinated while walking arm-in-arm with Modotti. Eager to rid the country of communist sympathizers, the government accuses Tina of his murder. Rivera and other prominent Mexican intelligentsia eventually help win her freedom. Expelled from Mexico, Modotti lives for a time in Moscow, becomes an agent for Red Aid, the international revolutionary organization, and works for the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War. Tired and ill, in 1939 she returns to Mexico, where she remains unrecognized until her death, when Pablo Neruda immortalizes her in a poem. One of Mexico's leading writers, Poniatowska (Dear Diego) has made an art form of blending journalism and fiction. She tells this novel in an urgent present tense, segueing among short, vivid scenes with cinematic virtuosity. Ten years of research and a thorough knowledge of the currents of history contribute to this portrait, but equally important is Poniatowska's intuitive appreciation of a woman shaped and destroyed by her tumultuous times. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Noteworthy Mexican novelist Poniatowska and Tina Modotti, the radical photographer linked to Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and Edward Weston, would seem a potent combination. Though this novel indeed probes powerfully into the psyche of Tinisima, as she is called by murdered lover Julio Antonio Mella, this novel does not quite ignite as it should. As she moves from the murder of Mella, of which Tinisima is accused in an obvious setup because of the couple's Communist activities, through the trial, the liaison with Weston, and on to Europe for more politcal activity, the reader has a slight, much-regretted sense of plodding. This is too bad, since Tinisima is herself such a dynamic subject. There is evocative writing here, and plenty of rich detail, but it should have been better. For literary collections.Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal"
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140268768
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 1/10/1998
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.86 (d)

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