The two stories that bookend Achy Obejas’ latest collection The Tower of the Antillespoint allusively to the relationship between naming and identity in the context of a Caribbean island’s military history and an early colonial invasion. The literal and figurative rejection of names in these two stories produces a dreamlike effect catapulting the characters into the realm of myth and metaphor. Yet the tower of the collection’s title and its concluding story unmistakably comes to represent Cuba itself where the coexistence of decay, deprivation, and entrapment engenders false promises of escape and complexities of identification. The pain of exile hinted at in some of these pieces also provides a sometimes elusive, but always provocative, window into the lives of the inhabitants of Obejas’ fictional universe.
TOWER reviewed by Lambda Literary