Archipelago Books
Severo Sarduy
“So No One Will Know I’m Afraid”

“So No One Will Know I’m Afraid” is from Severo Sarduy’s novel in stories FIREFLY (Archipelago Books).  Sarduy (1937 – 1993) is one of the most well-known Cuban writers of the 20th Century: poet, author, playwright, and critic of Cuban literature and art.  In 1972 his novel COBRA won the Medici Prize.


Sarduy went to the equivalent of high school in Camagüey and in 1956 moved to Havana, where he studied medicine. After the Cuban revolution he worked for pro-Marxist newspapers and then moved to Paris in 1960, where he became involved with the intellectual community surrounding the philosopher François Wahl, with whom he was openly involved.


FIREFLY is a dream-like evocation of pre-war Cuba, replete with hurricanes, mystical cults and slave-markets. The story is the coming-of-age of a precocious and exuberant boy with an oversized head and underdeveloped sense of direction, who views the world as a threatening conspiracy. Told in breathless and lyrical prose, the novel is a loving rendition of a long-lost home, a meditation on exile, and an allegory of Cuba’s isolation in the world.


“Sarduy is the master of wordscapes that dip, shake, and explode.”

—Jerome Charyn, New York Times Book Review


“Severo Sarduy has everything…so brilliant, so funny, and so bewilderingly apt in his borrowings, his derivations, as well as in his inventions, his findings, he leaves one breathless, like a shot of rum.”

—Richard Howard

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