Synopses & Reviews
Sex, lies, and scientific history collide in 1993 Havana.
It was as if we’d reached the minimum critical point of a mathematical curve. Imagine a parabola. Zero point down, at the bottom of an abyss. That’s how low we sank.
The year is 1993. Cuba is at the height of the Special Period, a widespread economic crisis following the collapse of the Soviet bloc.For Julia, a mathematics lecturer who hates teaching, this is Year Zero: the lowest possible point. But a way out appears: the search for a missing document that will prove the telephone was invented in Havana, secure her reputation, and give Cuba a purpose once more. What begins as an investigation into scientific history becomes a tangle of sex, friendship, family legacies, and the intricacies of how people find ways to survive in a country at its lowest ebb.
"A breezy, engaging and cunningly plotted tour of a resilient city and culture. (4 stars)" The Arts Desk
"A terrifically enjoyable read." Irish Times
"An astonishing novel." Le Figaro Littéraire
"A magisterial and innovative demonstration of first-person narration." Reading in Translation
About the Author
Karla Suárez was born in Havana in 1969. In 2007 she was selected by Hay Festival to be part of the Bogotá 39 and in 2019, she received the Premio Iberoamericano Julio Cortázar. Havana Year Zero (originally published in 2011) is her third novel.
Christina MacSweeney received the 2016 Valle Inclán prize for her translation of Valeria Luiselli's The Story of My Teeth, and her translation of Daniel Saldaña París' Among Strange Victims was a finalist for the 2017 Best Translated Book Award. Other authors she has translated include: Elvira Navarro (A Working Woman), Verónica Gerber Bicecci (Empty Set; Palabras migrantes/ Migrant Words), and Julián Herbert (Tomb Song; The House of the Pain of Others).