A Kind of Solitude – by Dariel Suarez

by Dariel Suarez.  Set in Cuba largely after the fall of the Soviet Union, these eleven stories explore themes of isolation and perseverance in the face of widespread poverty and socio-political oppression.  From a chronically ill santero refusing medical care to a femal-fronted heavy metal band risking it all to emerge from Havana’s rock underground, Dariel Suarez, in his striking debut, portrays the harsh reality, inherent humor, and resilient heart of a people whose stories should be known.

I was charmed by the spirit of compassion and tenderness that infuses the stories in this collection.  Suarez writes with simplicity and authenticity about the everyday life of everyday people in Cuba.  I especially liked the loyalty of his characters.  I liked their manners.  I liked their resilience.  I liked that when they made mistakes, they paid for them.  Politics and poverty color every story but the tone never darkens into polemic.  I think this is a great collection.  -Molly Giles, Judge of the Spokane Prize for Short Fiction.

In these accomplished stories, Dariel Suarez’s characters must navigate churning waters of betrayal and compromise, of love and obligation, of longing for escape.  A Kind of Solitude is an insightful, original, and large-hearted debut.  -Kirstin Valdez Quade, Night at the Fiestas

The characters who populate this remarkable debut collection are all bound by the complex negotiation of loyalty and self-preservation, of stasis and escape, of the ghosts of the past that crowd the present and the unknown horizon of the future.  A Kind of Solitude is a stunning, nuanced illlumination of contemporary Cuban life, and Dariel Suarez is a brilliant new talent.  -Laura van den Berg, The Third Hotel

A Kind of Solitude is a winner of the Spokane Prize in fiction.  It can be purchased here.