Map Drawn by a Spy

by

Translated from by

Published: August 29th, 2017

ISBN: N/A
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Book Description

Found in an envelope in Guillermo Cabrera Infante’s house after his death, Map Drawn by a Spy is the world-renowned writer’s autobiographical account of the last four months he spent in his country. In 1965, following his mother’s death, Infante returns to Cuba from Brussels, where he is employed as a cultural attaché at the Cuban embassy. When a few days later his permission to return to Europe is revoked, Infante begins a period of suspicion, uncertainty, and disillusion. Unable to leave the country, denied access to party officials, yet still receiving checks for his work in Belgium, Infante discovers the reality of Cuba under Fidel Castro: imprisonment of homosexuals, silencing of writers, the closing of libraries and newspapers, and the consolidation of power. Both lucid and sincere, Map Drawn by a Spy is a moving portrayal of a fractured society and a writer’s struggles to come to terms with his national identity.

This book has greatly moved me, not only due to the fondness I have always felt for Cabrera Infante, but also because of what it reveals about his character, the city of Havana, and the era of the Cuban Revolution ... It is a bare and atrocious testimony of what it means when, gone the euphoria and joy of victory, a revolution transforms into supreme power, that Saturn who sooner or later devours his own children, beginning with those he finds closest, who most often are the greatest.
Mario Vargas Llosa, El Pais


To say that I have read Guillermo Cabrera Infante’s Map Drawn by a Spy in one sitting, and with great enthusiasm, is to cut myself short.
Juan Goytisolo, El Pais


The book reads with the same vertigo as that in which it was written...Map Drawn by a Spy is the intimate cartography of a farewell.
Juan Bonilla, El Mundo


Infante leaves out no detail; it is meticulous, and sad, like the account of a prisoner from a concentration camp. It does not shy away from domestic life and its worries, or romance and its intrigues, and is at every moment so laid bare as to cause itself – and the reader – to bleed...Cabrera Infante’s most heartrending book.
Juan Cruz, El Pais


Brimming with talent, ideas, and Infante’s original sense of humor...Map Drawn by a Spy is a book of sadness and farewells (to his friends, to his birthplace, to an entire world) but also a sort of personal purification, the kind achieved by someone who reduces a burden by narrating it. Infante does so with poignancy, lucidity, elegance, and honesty in a naked self-portrayal...In the depiction of a world that has turned spectral, in the details of a totalitarian regime of terror where everyone suspects and mistrusts each other, the author masterly describes the hardships he finds along his path.
Ernesto Calabuig, El Cultural


An exile's plainspoken testimonial, bookending Orwell's Homage to Catalonia in the literature of political disappointment.
Kirkus Review


Read an interview with Guillermo Cabrera Infante and Oscar Hijuelos in BOMB Magazine.

Read Guillermo Cabrera Infante’s obituary in The Guardian and in The Los Angeles Times.