Monday, April 13, 2009


I'm aware that I frequently make little promises here, like hey I'll be posting a list of Cuban revolutionary fiction soon or the like, and that I nearly as frequently emit little wisps of longing, like gee I wish I could write a long thoughtful post about how hard it is in this country to get a hold of Cuban revolutionary novels translated into English--and that, for all my little promises and wistful emissions, I seal the deal only spottily. Partly this is just the nature of the beast, the beast being cultural life under capitalism. This stuff (the books, the thoughts worth airing) is hard to ferret out. A big part, though, is that I just don't have the time. I work full-time. I'm trying to write another novel, and to get my first one published. I play a small editorial role at a socialist newspaper. I have to shlep to the laundromat and the grocery store, keep up with the household bills and pay the rent, get to the dentist, the eye doctor, do at least minimal upkeep on this damnably aging body, etc.

So much for excuses. I'll keep trying. For now, here's this.
Many years ago, when I was first studying the history of the Russian Revolution, I read the 1925 novel Cement by Fyodor Gladkov. I remember it was glorious. It was one of the first novels to come out in the period immediately after the 1917 revolution, and to tell a story of revolutionary transformation in the lives of workers in the new Soviet Union. The swift changes in the role of women, women's experience, and the struggles to raise men's consciousness are particular thrusts, which has a lot to do with why I loved this book so much. It's still possible to get your hands on an English-language edition.