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Daína Chaviano (Author)

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The Occult Side of Havana

This is a series of novels that Daína Chaviano began writing after she left Cuba. Although each work can be read independently, they contain unifying elements. For instance, some characters from a novel may appear briefly in another.

The series to date consists of four works that follow a chronological sequence. The time period is not always specified, but it is suggested through certain historical or social guideposts alluded to as part of the background. The following is the historical sequence in which they occur:

* Gata encerrada: Between 1985 and 1987.
* Casa de juegos: Around 1988.
* El hombre, la hembra y el hambre: Between 1992 and 1994.
* The Island of Eternal Love: Spanning around a century and a half, between 1850 and 1998.
*
Los hijos de la Diosa Huracán: It unfolds in two parallel plot lines - in a near future, and 500 years ago, between 1509 and 1517.

In these works Havana is the point of departure for arriving at other universes - fantastic or magical - that lead the characters to unexpected discoveries about themselves. Each novel explores different facets of spirituality: reincarnation, Celtic magic, Spiritism or mediumistic practices, Afro-Cuban cults...

But the Havana portrayed in these works does not merely conceal mystical worlds. It also reveals a social reality, sometimes incomprehensible and suffocating for those who inhabit it. The experiences of that social reality impel its inhabitants to seek escape through unusual means involving magic or the paranormal, as their only chance to free their spirits and survive.

They know that when all else fails, there is always the hope - or the dangerously suicidal impulse - of turning to the seemingly inexhaustible universe of mystery and fantasy.
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