Rubén Gallo’s “Teoría y práctica de La Habana”


Librería Laberinto Viejo San Juan recently featured Rubén Gallo’s Teoría y práctica de La Habana [Theory and Practice of Havana] (Jus Ediciones, 2017). About this collection of essays, fellow Mexican writer and critic Carlos Monsiváis writes, “For Rubén Gallo, a brilliant intellectual, the most natural approach is to incorporate in his essays doses of cultural criticism, audiovisual studies, literary analysis and the certainty that one needs to transform the canon continuously.”

Description (Jus Ediciones): Havana is a delirium in the whirlwind of the Transition: it is the only city in the world with gay bars run by the State, and served by public officials. It is a place where, until recently, there were clandestine bookstores, a Latin American capital that is fed with powdered milk and that challenges milk-lovers to spend a thousand and one vicissitudes in their search for fresh milk, a space where Santeria, with its African rituals and local ingredients, marks everyday life, a metropolis where people travel en botella, thus turning each car into a form of collective transport and a platform for unexpected encounters and unique adventures. Rubén Gallo’s Teoría y práctica de La Habana is the most vital book that has been written about Cuba in recent years.

Rubén Gallo is a writer, critic, and professor at Princeton University. Nothing in his career—a B.A. from Yale University and a Ph.D. from Columbia University—had prepared him to face the delirium he would experience during the six months he spent in Havana in 2015, an experience that profoundly transformed his being and his writing, which culminated in the writing of Teoría y práctica de La Habana—a personal chronicle that is also a cultural analysis of the Cuba of the Transition.

He has also published books on Mexico City—México DF, lecturas para paseantes (2005) and Las artes de la ciudad (2015), about the avant-garde—Heterodoxos mexicanos (2007) and Máquinas de vanguardia (2014), and about the reception of figures such as Sigmund Freud and Marcel Proust in Latin America—Freud’s Mexico: Into the Wilds of Psychoanalysis (2013) and Proust’s Latin Americans (2014, the first study of Marcel Proust’s friendships and love affairs with Latin Americans).

For more information and to read excerpts from the book, see

For more on the author, see and