Winter 1997 • Vol. XIX No. 1 NonfictionJanuary 1, 1997 |

La Cortada

All those memoirs that begin with the author's recollections of life at age three, I never trust them. Never. What baloney, I think to myself, who is the author fooling, for heaven's sakes? Sometimes I wonder if I had a childhood. My mother tells me I was a very happy child. Especially in Cuba. I was born in Havana. I lived there until I was nearly five. But I can't recall a thing. It's as if I sprang to life when we arrived in New York—for that is my earliest memory, the moment of arriving, of docking. If only I could remember the early years of my life, my mother says, I would know for myself how happy I was in Cuba. I wouldn't have to take her word for it. So many of my Cuban friends, who left the island around the same age as I, recall perfectly the trauma of their departure, the sense of expulsion from paradise. But I don't recall leaving Cuba, either. There's a term for my condition. I am cortada. Call me La Cortada. I grew up hearing that term as a description o

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece



Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.

Read More

Our Ruin

By Susan Stewart

All those memoirs that begin with the author's recollections of life at age three, I never trust them. Never. What baloney, I think to myself, who is the author fooling, […]

Subscribe

Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.

Donate

With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.