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Cantoras
by Carolina De Robertis




Overview -
Cantoras is a stunning lullaby to revolution--and each woman in this novel sings it with a deep ferocity. Again and again, I was lifted, then gently set down again--either through tears, rage, or laughter. Days later, I am still inside this song of a story. --Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award-winning author

From the highly acclaimed, award-winning author of The Gods of Tango, a revolutionary new novel about five wildly different women who, in the midst of the Uruguayan dictatorship, find one another as lovers, friends, and ultimately, family.

In 1977 Uruguay, a military government crushed political dissent with ruthless force. In this environment, where the everyday rights of people are under attack, homosexuality is a dangerous transgression to be punished. And yet Romina, Flaca, Anita La Venus, Paz, and Malena--five cantoras, women who sing--somehow, miraculously, find one another. Together, they discover an isolated, nearly uninhabited cape, Cabo Polonio, which they claim as their secret sanctuary. Over the next thirty-five years, their lives move back and forth between Cabo Polonio and Montevideo, the city they call home, as they return, sometimes together, sometimes in pairs, with lovers in tow, or alone. And throughout, again and again, the women will be tested--by their families, lovers, society, and one another--as they fight to live authentic lives.

A genre-defining novel and De Robertis's masterpiece, Cantoras is a breathtaking portrait of queer love, community, forgotten history, and the strength of the human spirit. At once timeless and groundbreaking, Cantoras is a tale about the fire in all our souls and those who make it burn.

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More About Cantoras by Carolina De Robertis

 
 
 

Overview

Cantoras is a stunning lullaby to revolution--and each woman in this novel sings it with a deep ferocity. Again and again, I was lifted, then gently set down again--either through tears, rage, or laughter. Days later, I am still inside this song of a story. --Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award-winning author

From the highly acclaimed, award-winning author of The Gods of Tango, a revolutionary new novel about five wildly different women who, in the midst of the Uruguayan dictatorship, find one another as lovers, friends, and ultimately, family.

In 1977 Uruguay, a military government crushed political dissent with ruthless force. In this environment, where the everyday rights of people are under attack, homosexuality is a dangerous transgression to be punished. And yet Romina, Flaca, Anita La Venus, Paz, and Malena--five cantoras, women who sing--somehow, miraculously, find one another. Together, they discover an isolated, nearly uninhabited cape, Cabo Polonio, which they claim as their secret sanctuary. Over the next thirty-five years, their lives move back and forth between Cabo Polonio and Montevideo, the city they call home, as they return, sometimes together, sometimes in pairs, with lovers in tow, or alone. And throughout, again and again, the women will be tested--by their families, lovers, society, and one another--as they fight to live authentic lives.

A genre-defining novel and De Robertis's masterpiece, Cantoras is a breathtaking portrait of queer love, community, forgotten history, and the strength of the human spirit. At once timeless and groundbreaking, Cantoras is a tale about the fire in all our souls and those who make it burn.

 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525521693
  • ISBN-10: 0525521690
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
  • Publish Date: September 2019
  • Page Count: 336
  • Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds


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BookPage Reviews

Cantoras

Dictatorships cannot abide desire. That visceral human gravitation, the movement of the marrow in the direction of want, is the antithesis of totalitarianism. To express it—and especially to express it in a manner the gatekeepers of mainstream society deem aberrant—is to express a dangerous, powerful kind of freedom. 

Freedom—its presence and absence, the longing for it—colors every page of Carolina De Robertis’ masterful, passionate and at times painful new novel. Cantoras tells the story of five women who must navigate a society in the grips of overwhelming oppression, at a time when being a woman who loves other women carries a sentence of at best ostracization and at worst obliteration.

Cantoras begins in late-1970s Uruguay, a country under the control of a merciless military government. Seeking refuge from the oppressive atmosphere of the capital, five women travel to an isolated coastal village called Cabo Polonio. It soon becomes a haven where the women can live as they wish, to be lovers, friends, confidants—to be free. So liberating is this place that the women decide to pool their money and buy a small home there. 

From that first visit to Cabo Polonio, De Robertis unfurls the stories of each of the women’s lives—their hopes, their secret pasts, the suffering they’ve been made to endure by a society in which living openly is more often than not a dangerous pipe dream. The novel covers some 35 years, frequently changing focus from one character to another and yet at all times retaining a powerful sense of intimacy. Each of De Robertis’ central characters is of incredible emotional depth. 

Cantoras is at its most powerful when dissecting consequences of desire. Several of the central characters are subjected to horrific violence at the hands of the military dictatorship, but they are also sometimes subjected to violence at the hands of their relatives, people who cannot accept them as they are, who want desperately to “fix” them. In this atmosphere of repression, Romina, one of the five women, thinks, “the path into the forbidden was in fact wide open right in front of you . . . stepping onto it could be a kind of rightness, a vitality more powerful than fear.”

The bond the five women form—the way they orbit, attract and repel, take solace and find strength in one another—is the most moving part of Cantoras. By the end of the novel, there is a sense that the reader has done more than simply peer in on the lives of strangers, that instead they have experienced something organic and deeply human—a dangerous, powerful kind of freedom.

 

ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read a Q&A with Carolina De Robertis on Cantoras.

 

BAM Customer Reviews