Make no mistake: Carolina de Robertis has written an epic to stand up in the annals of the Western cannon. Cantoras is set in Uruguay, with five protagonists. Women protagonists. Queer women protagonists. Building love, family, and future amidst a violent dictatorship and cultural oppression that would deny them themselves. This novel sings through decades and heartbreak to be vibrantly, fiercely alive and free, as the stories of these five “cantoras” unfold with vivid, sometimes aching, truth of nation and humanity.
Make no mistake: Carolina de Robertis has written an epic to stand in the annals of the Western canon. Set in Uruguay, with five protagonists. Women protagonists. Queer women protagonists. Building love, family, and future amidst a violent dictatorship and cultural oppression that would deny them themselves. This novel sings through decades and heartbreak to be vibrantly, fiercely alive and free, as the stories of these five cantoras unfold with vivid, sometimes aching, truth of nation and humanity.
In defiance of the brutal military government that took power in Uruguay in the 1970s, and under which homosexuality is a dangerous transgression, five women miraculously find one another—and, together, an isolated cape that they claim as their own.
Over the next thirty-five years, they travel back and forth from this secret sanctuary, sometimes together, sometimes in pairs, with lovers in tow or alone. Throughout it all, they will be tested repeatedly—by their families, lovers, society, and one another—as they fight to live authentic lives.
A groundbreaking, genre-defining work, Cantoras is a breathtaking portrait of queer love, community, forgotten history, and the strength of the human spirit.
About the Author
Carolina De Robertis, a writer of Uruguayan origins, is the author of The Gods of Tango, Perla, and the international best seller The Invisible Mountain. Her novels have been translated into seventeen languages and have garnered a Stonewall Book Award, Italy’s Rhegium Julii Prize, and numerous other honors. A recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, she is also a translator of Latin American and Spanish literature, and editor of the anthology Radical Hope: Letters of Love and Dissent in Dangerous Times. In 2017, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts named De Robertis to its 100 List of “people, organizations, and movements that are shaping the future of culture.” She teaches at San Francisco State University and lives in Oakland, California, with her wife and two children. www.carolinaderobertis.com
Winner of a Stonewall Book Award and the Reading Women Award and a finalist for the Kirkus Prize and the Lambda Literary Prize
“Bold and unapologetic . . . a tribute to the power of love, friendship and political resistance.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Sweeping and utterly breathtaking. . . . De Robertis’s writing is reason alone to read this book. Like her fierce characters, her words pry and pull at the essence of not only what it feels like to be thwarted, condemned or quarantined because of your beliefs and identity, but also what it means to be a vulnerable yet empowered, infinitely beautiful and fully alive woman.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Every line of this gorgeous and grippingly adventurous tale sings with lush, aqueous beauty.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“A stunning lullaby to revolution. . . . Again and again, I was lifted, then gently set down again—either through tears, rage, or laughter.” —Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award winner and author of Red at the Bone
“A lyrical, richly sensory novel. . . . Pointedly relevant to our own dangerous age, Carolina De Robertis has gifted us a majestic work of song and imagination, a handbook to survival for us all.” —Cristina García, author of Here in Berlin
“A gripping, lush, and ultimately hopeful story of five queer women fighting for their lives under a dictatorship. It was the type of good that when I finished I thought: I am going to read everything [De Robertis] writes forever.” —Madeline Miller, PBS NewsHour
“Rich and luscious, De Robertis’ writing feels like a living thing, lapping over the reader like the ocean. Carefully crafted and expertly observed, each sentence is an elegant gift. . . . A stunning novel about queer love, womanhood, and personal and political revolution.” —Kirkus Reviews(starred review)
“Cantorasis a wise, brilliantly compassionate, wide-ranging novel about women in Uruguay, and about the power and realities of love. Carolina De Robertis is a force: prepare to be astonished.” —R. W. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries
“It’s impossible not to fall in love with these fierce ‘girlwomen’—queer, courageous, and adventurous—as they find freedom in their relationships with each other while living under a ruthless dictatorship.” — Angie Cruz, Vanity Fair
“I loved Cantoras. I rooted for these remarkable women during every step of their journey and found myself weeping in gratitude and happiness in the final pages.” —Lisa See, author of The Island of Sea Women “Searing. . . . Sensitively and singularly touches on themes of queerness, community, and perseverance.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Masterful, passionate.” —Omar El Akkad, BookPage (starred review)