Today I am delighted to be hosting the blog tour for the beautiful Until We’re Fish by Susannah R. Drissi
With the truth of experience and the lyricism of poetry, Rodríguez Drissi constructs an exquisite, gossamer tale of revolution and hearts set adrift. A Don Quixote for our times, Until We’re Fish is an intimate exploration into the souls of people willing to sacrifice everything to be free.
Until We’re Fish
by Susannah R. Drissi
A man can be destroyed but never defeated.
Stunning and elegiac, Susannah Rodríguez Drissi’s debut novel Until We’re Fish juxtaposes vivid landscapes, brilliant, playful meditations on life, and penetrating insights into the human heart, to richly bring to life the story of rapscallion dreamer Elio, a Cuban teen whose unbridled confidence is severely tested after a near-fatal shark attack.
Elio longs for freedom from the dreary home he shares with his mother. He spends his days and nights fantasizing about an American bike and Maria, his vivacious next-door neighbor. Two obstacles stand in his way: the 1959 Cuban Revolution and Maria’s dream of moving to Chicago. Yet Elio is steadfast in believing that somehow, some way he will get both the girl and the Schwinn. When an injury leaves him terrified of the sea, he’s faced with an impossible choice: to overcome his fear and do whatever it takes to realize his vision, or to stay safe, and risk losing everything he’s been living for.
An unforgettable coming-of-age story, Until We’re Fish blends the romance, violence, mood, and ethos of the Cuban Revolution with a young man’s hopeless and heroic first love.
My goodness this is a wonderful novel and an incredibly strong debut novel from a very accomplished writer. Moving, sad, historically rich and oh, so beautifully written. I sadly know very little about Cuban history and I have never read Don Quixote but this novel has released a thirst to know more. One of the joys of reading is the ability to travel to other times and places. This is a world so far removed from my own but still there are parts of the human spirit, the soul within that I can very easily relate to. Yet with every page I welcomed something new into my life and greatly expanded my own horizons.
This novel swept me away through the years, the trials, the heartbreak and the hope that were with Elio and Maria within this story. Susannah creates such atmosphere, she brings Cuba alive and the passion is flowing throughout. The way she combines history, tradition and the changes that occurred during those years, wrapping it up brilliantly into the lives of Elio and Maria. The writing is stunning, literary yet highly accessible. It is epic in the range of feeling it manages to conjure and express and the rich story that Susannah has created. It feels like her very heart and soul is here within the pages of this book. I read it quickly in time for this blog tour but I mean to return to it again at a slower pace to enjoy and savour the quality of the writing. Not immediately though, my heart needs a little time to repair.
Many thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and to Susannah Drissi and Propertius Press for a signed copy. It is certainly a novel that will have a spot on my forever shelves.
Susannah R. Drissi is an award-winning writer, translator, and scholar. Her poetry, prose and academic papers have appeared in journals and anthologies such as In Season: Stories of Discovery, Loss, Home, and Places in Between, which won the 2018 Florida Book Award; the Los Angeles Review of Books; Saw Palm; Literal magazine; Diario de Cuba; SX Salon; Raising Mothers; the Acentos Review; and Cuba Counterpoints, among many others. Her plays have been performed in Los Angeles and Miami, and she is currently at work on Nocturno, a musical. Drissi is the author of The Latin Poet’s Guide to the Cosmos (Floricanto Press, 2019) and is on the faculty of the Writing Program,s at the University of California, Los Angeles.