A love story steeped in political satire, poetry, and the lightest touches of magical realism, Medina has created a bold, funny narrative with an uncanny heroine at its core: Elena of Piedra Negra, Cuba. Piedra Negra is an isolated village, whose citizens consist mainly of soldiers injured in the revolution who pass the time drinking a firewater so intense, all hallucinate, and most never recover.
The firewater distiller's daughter Elena longs to be a poet, and after a chance encounter with Daniel Arcilla, Cuba's most important poet, Elena wins a national poetry prize and leaves Piedra Negra behind for Havana. There she encounters a population adjusting to a new way of life, post-revolution: there are spies and secret meetings, black marketeers, and censorship. Full of outlandish humor and insights into an often contradictory and kafkaesque regime, Medina brings 1960s Cuba to life through the eyes of Elena.