Vicente Cabrera Funes. Dónde más si no en el Paraíso. ISBN: 978-1-888205-11-4. $23.95.

Vicente Cabrera Funes´s latest work of fiction, Dónde más si no en el Paraíso, consists of two novellas, Dalia and Suana en el Paraíso. A major theme of the two is the clash of cultures, expertly portrayed by the author who himself was born in Latin America and has resided in the United States (el Paraíso) for many years. Cabrera's novellas will challenge his readers to discover the underlying irony and tragedy his characters encounter as they struggle to survive in a racially divided, violent and unjust "paradise." George R. McMurray Professor Emeritus Colorado State University

El escenario de las dos novelas de que consta el nuevo libro de Vicente Cabrera Funes, Dónde más si no en el Paraíso, es un Estados Unidos que tiene poco de paradisiaco. La orfandad literal y metafórica y la cuestión de la identidad son temas principales de la primera narración, Dalia, cuyo personaje titular no sabe si identificarse como vietnamita o americana. La protagonista de la segunda narración, Suana en el Paraíso, también asiática, tiene un doctorado en psicología pero sus estudios y sus aportes a "este país de maravillas" no la protegen de la campaña de persecución lanzada contra ella. En este caso el narrador es un amigo de Suana pero no se compromete a ayudarla casándose con ella y así resolver sus problemas con el Departamento de Inmigración. La protesta contra la intolerancia, la discriminación que sufren los "intrusos" extranjeros y las muchas vejaciones de las que son víctimas es más fuerte en esta narración donde resulta que el tan cacareado sueño americano es, para muchos, pesadilla. Kathleen Glenn Wake Forest University.

Con Dónde más si no en el paraíso, Vicente Cabrera Funes muestra una vez más su gran capacidad creadora, su habilidad para tejer historias que capturan la compleja naturaleza de las relaciones humanas -paradójicamente enfrentadas a la simplicidad de la vida cotidiana- y su talento para capturar el diálogo y las acciones detalladas de cada personaje. En las dos historias que conforman este libro, se nos presenta la difícil experiencia del cambio cultural y de identidad, un cambio que no sólo se ve reflejado desde la perspectiva de quienes inmigran a un país diferente y se integran a la vida académica, sino también de quienes se encuentran fuera de lugar en un país en el que crecieron y lo creían de alguna manera suyo. Dónde más si no en el paraíso solidifica más, indudablemente, la carrera novelística de este talentoso escritor ecuatoriano. Jacqueline Álvarez-Ogbesor Spellman College. University of Minnesota, Morris Professor of Spanish and Ecuadorian novelist Vicente Cabrera Funes will read from his fourth novel, Los malditos amantes de Carolina, at 2 p.m. Monday, April 3, at the University of Minnesota Bookstore, located in Coffman Memorial Union on the University's Minneapolis campus. Also reading from portions of the book that they translated into English will be Stacey Parker Aronson, Tom Turner and James Wojtaszek, all UMM Spanish faculty.

Cabrera grew up in Ecuador and took much of his schooling at a boarding school run by Jesuits. While there, he wrote diaries and would take turns writing chapters of stories with his friend, Luis Guerra Bravo. After boarding school, Cabrera moved to Quito, and studied law at the Catholic University for four years. He then moved to the Unites States and attended the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he earned his master's and doctoral degrees in Spanish literature. Cabrera moved to Colorado to teach Spanish literature, before heading to Ecuador for two years to write for three newspapers. He returned to the United States, to Lake Forest College near Chicago, before accepting a position at UMM, where he has been a full professor since 1987. “I like to make literature of my life," said Cabrera. "It’s not that my literature is an autobiography, but rather that my novels are mirrors that reflect my life and the lives of others." Cabrera strongly values his culture and language and feels it is an integral part of his work. “Nostalgia has provoked my writing, the need to be connected to my hometown, to my region, and to my country through my native tongue,” he said. Los malditos amantes de Carolina is a series of chronicles kept by different characters in a book concerning a particularly fascinating and captivating woman. The chroniclers start out with Federico Solis Ampudio, but after much trouble and internal conflict, he passes the writings along to his intimate friend, Carmelo. But not even Carmelo can cope with the stories and, after he disappears, they are found and continued by Carmelo’s daughter, Eugenia. In the end the publisher is confused as to whether or not he should allow new additions to the already published chronicles, because so many people have meddled with them..

 

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