Thursday 21 January 2021

Until We're Fish by Susanna R Drissi @rsdrissi BLOG TOUR #UntilWereFish @RandomTTours #RandomThingsTours

An unforgettable coming-of-age story, Until We’re Fish blends the romance, violence, mood, and ethos of the Cuban Revolution with a young man’s hopeless and heroic first love. 
With the truth of experience and the lyricism of poetry, Rodríguez Drissi constructs an exquisite, gossamer tale of revolution and hearts set adrift. A Don Quixote for our times, Until We’re Fish is an intimate exploration into the souls of people willing to sacrifice everything to be free.

Until We're Fish by Susannah R Drissi was published on 6 October 2020. My thanks to the author who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour.

One of the things that I love most about reading, is how educational it can be. In Until We're Fish, the reader is transported to Cuba, and we stay there through four decades, right through to the 1990s. Whilst I knew a little about Cuba's history, I've never read a book set in this period before and it's been an eye-opening and fascinating glimpse into a world I knew so little about.

Whilst this is a fiction, it is clear that the author writes with great authority, and her writing is beautiful. There's a lyrical, almost poetic element to her story. Her descriptive prose is enchanting and her character development is so cleverly done.

At its heart, this is a love story, following the ups and the downs of the continuing relationship between Elio and Maria and set in a small rural town called Bauta. Elio has loved Maria since he was a child, and Maria has loved the thought of living in America for just as long, as she studies the Sears catalogue and dreams of a different life. 

Elio's childhood tragedies have impacted upon his adult life and despite his enduring love for Maria, he refuses to leave Cuba. Eventually this will mark the ending of their love, but the decades in between are wonderfully told. The author captures the small town and its surroundings so well, along with the unsettling feelings shown by the inhabitants for their own country; their home, but also, to some extent, their prison. 

A vividly detailed story that is a joy to immerse yourself in. I admire the author's skill with words, it was a shock to look up from reading and find myself looking out at a snowy landscape after being so invested in this story.  Recommended. 

Susannah Rodríguez Drissi, PhD is an award-winning Cuban-born poet, writer, playwright,
translator, director, producer, and scholar. She is Faculty in Writing Programs 
at UCLA, Affiliate Scholar in UC-Cuba Program Initiative, and Associate Literary Editor for Cuba Counterpoints, Cuban and Caribbean Research Studies Institute. 

As a 1.5-generation writer (born in Cuba in the 1970s, but coming of age in the US), Rodríguez Drissi writes about Cuba through a double lens—from the vantage point of the native and also from the benefit of a temporal and geographical distance. 

Her poems, short stories, creative nonfiction, and reviews have appeared in anthologies such as In Season—Stories of Discovery, Loss, Home, and Places in Between (2018 Florida Book Award Winner); and journals such as the Los Angeles Review of Books, Saw Palm, Literal Magazine, Diario de Cuba (Madrid), SX Salon, Raising Mothers, Acentos Review, Cuba Counterpoints, among other journals. Following readings at the University of California, Irvine and the University of California, Los Angeles, her award-winning play, Houses Without Walls, premiered at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in 2018. 

More recently, her short plays, The Fruit Flies and Rey y Atenea were selected to the 2019 Short+Sweet Theatre Festival and premiered at the Lee Strasberg Film & Theatre Institute, in Los Angeles. Rey y Atenea received an Audience Choice Award and was Finalist for the 2019 NBC Universal Talent Infusion Programs Award. She is the author of the poetry collection The Latin Poet’s Guide to the Cosmos (Floricanto Press, 2019) and Rey y Atenea / Rey and Atenea, a Bilingual Edition (Cassandra Press, 2019). Her musical, Radio Nocturno, El Musical, was scheduled to premiere at Miami Dade College’s Koubek Center, on August 6th, 2020, directed by Victoria Collado (John Leguizamo’s Latin History for Morons), musical direction by Jesse Sanchez (Hamilton, national tour), and produced by George Cabrera (Broadway Factor). The production was postponed due to COVID-19 and is now planned for August 2021.

Learn more at 

Twitter @rsdrissi

Instagram @susannahdrissi

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