Monday, November 29, 2010

Cuba My Revolution by Inverna Lockpez and Dean Haspiel with Jose Villarrubia

Inverna Lockpez was 17 in 1958; she joined many other Cubans in rejoicing the overturn of Batista's corrupt government and the coming to power of Fidel Castro. Lockpez was not quickly disillusioned, even when the darker side of the revolution began to overshadow her idealistic hopes and dreams. Eventually, in the mid-1960s, she fled to the United States, where she has become a noted sculptor. Lockpez and two additional artists use the graphic novel format to fictionalize this memoir of a dramatic period in her life - and the lives of many other Cubans.

In the novel, Sonya is the protagonist. She wants to study art, but believes that she will serve the revolution better as a doctor. When Sonya is sent as a medic to the Bay of Pigs during the U.S. invasion, she witnesses the horrors of war. There is an atmosphere of such fear and suspicion that Sonya is mistaken for a CIA agent and is taken to Havana, imprisoned and tortured. Lockpez talks about this in a short interview that is available online at PRI's The World; she says the book depicts only the tip of the iceberg of what she experienced. Amazingly, this episode did not sour Sonya/Lockpez on the revolution - that came later.

The illustrations by Dean Haspiel are in a blocky, surrealist style in shades of gray with striking additions of the colour red, painted by Jose Villarrubia. See samples here (PRI's The World, again). Readalike: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.

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