What’s on Our Nightstands: Misa para un ángel

Tomás Fernández Robaina considers Misa para un ángel (Ediciones Unión, 2010) [Mass for an Angel] to be a testimonio literario, straddling the novel and testimonial narrative. This small tome is also an elegy of sorts; it was written, says the publisher, “so that the soul of [Cuban writer] Reinaldo Arenas, who committed suicide in the United States, may reach eternal peace.” Robaina, who refers to his late friend as l´énfant terrible of Cuban literature, offers a fascinating combination of heartfelt reminiscences, gossip, musings, letters, article excerpts, and interviews, this book draws attention to the many stages of Arenas’ life, including his literary production; his outlook on life, work, and pleasure; his relationships in Cuba and abroad; his exile; and his subsequent battle with AIDS.

Tomás Fernández Robaina is a researcher specializing in bibliographic work and a prolific essayist on Afro-Cuban issues.  He has published numerous bibliographies, critical essays, and testimonial narratives. Among his sociohistorical works are El negro en Cuba 1902-1958: Apuntes para la historia de la lucha contra la discriminacion racial [Blacks in Cuba 1902-1958: Notes on the history of the struggle against racial discrimination (1990)]; Cuba: Personalidades en el debate nacional [Cuba: Figures in the National Debate (2007)]; and Identidad afrocubana [Afro-Cuban Identity (2009)]. Fernández Robaina is a researcher at the José Martí National Library and an adjunct professor at the University of Havana; he a member of UNEAC and of the Cuban National Committee on Slave Routes, among many other associations. He has been a guest lecturer and researcher at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University.

[Gracias a Emilio Jorge por este hermoso libro.]

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