On Literary South’s third episode, listeners sent questions about The Maids of Havana for the author Pedro Pérez-Sarduy.
The Maids of Havana explores the complexities of race, gender and class in Cuba; it is told from the perspective of Marta, a black single mother from Santa Clara who sees herself forced to leave her children with her sister and move to Havana finding work as a maid for rich white families.
Halfway through the book a new character is introduced: Gracielita, whose mother is a close friend of Marta. Gracielita migrated to the United States through the infamous Mariel boatlift. Once there, Gracielita hopelessly collides with the social values of North America, particularly racial relations.