Alejo Carpentier Archive

Cuban Literary Blues: Alejo Carpentier & Severo Sarduy

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Apart from their cosmopolitanism, their interest in baroque aesthetics, and their mutual disdain, Carpentier and Sarduy shared a passion that shaped their writing and, through them, the course of Cuban letters: African American music.

The Queen of the Night and Alejo Carpentier’s French Accent

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In the first chapter of Alexander Chee’s long-awaited new novel The Queen of the Night, the opera-singer protagonist surprises party-goers at a Paris ball by bursting into an aria from Gounod’s Faust. The scene has a scandalous, erotic backstory (too complicated to recount here, but it involves two brothers