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A review of Yocandra in the Paradise of Nada

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A review of Yocandra in the Paradise of Nada: Neeti Parekh Yocandra in the Paradise of Nada. Zo� Vald�s. Arcade publishing Inc. Translation copyright 1997. First published in France. Zo� Vald�s is a Cuban author currently living in Paris, France. She was born on May 2, 1959. She went to University in Cuba but never enjoyed or felt satisfied her education there. She worked for the Delegation of Cuba before UNESSCO. She also was assistant director of the Magazine of Cuban Cinema in the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry. She won the Planeta Prize in 1996 for her novel, Te di la vida entera. Other works include: * Respuestas para vivir * Todo para una sombra * Sangre Azul * Caf� Nostalgia * Traficantes de belleza * Cuerdos para el lince * Milagro en Miami In my mind, the main purpose behind the authoring of this book is to vent anger. When researching on Valdes, I found many similarities between Valdes and the themes and heroines of her books. ...read more.


In those four years, Yocandra was nothing but a doll in The Traitor's show, "mistreated" and "cast adrift." On one random day, Yocandra stumbled upon the so-called marvelous manuscript. Yet all it said was one sentence over and over again for three hundred pages: "Everyone is after me. I can't write because everyone is after me." The Traitor claimed she was the main reason why he couldn't write. After that, she divorced him and flew back to Cuba. All the people met in Yocandra's youth were not all bad. Her best friend, The Gusana is an anti-revolutionary, believing in human rights, etc. Unfortunately, The Gusana moves away with a fat Spaniard to Spain to leave the nada of Cuba. From there, she would write to Yocandra, making her long for the day when she could have everything that The Gusana has. She also was friends with The Lynx. The Lynx, the good-looking artist who didn't care about what anyone thought. After being placed in prison and being appointed to several committees for introducing culture to backward villages in Cuba, The Lynx left on a raft to Miami. ...read more.


She once again experiences a loss when two of her friends move away to foreign places. Yocandra is back to square one. She is left with the Nihilist and then also with the Traitor. Two men she must see, for one she loves and the other she lusts. At the end however, she comes together, again looking for the meaning of life. Yocandra takes the worst and makes the best out of it. She takes the lack of necessities and the lack of social surroundings and makes into something instead of nothing. This is her Paradise of Nada. Zoe Valdes' view of Cuba is a refreshing one. Living in Miami, where many Cubans or Cuban-Americans live, her view is a common one. However, her bold statements and precise descriptions far surpass any I have heard so far. Yocandra's emphatic feminist characterization can easy be liked. Valdes takes simple things like typing and makes it slightly erotic. Yocandra's late teen, early adult nature can be related to many. I found the book candid and honest. This book did contribute to my knowledge of Cuban history and present tension in Cuba. ...read more.

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