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A Celebration of Antonio Benítez-Rojo and "Woman in Battle Dress" Recommended

When: Sun., Sept. 27, 5 p.m. 2015
Phone: 415-362-8193
Price: Free
www.citylights.com

La Cage Aux Mujeres

Born in Switzerland in 1791, the orphan Henriette Faber was widowed at 18. Seeing few options beyond prostitution, she assumed a male identity and enrolled at Université de Paris to study medicine. Faber spent 15 years living as a man, first as a surgeon drafted into Napoleon's disastrous Russian campaign and later as a doctor in a remote Cuban village. Ultimately, it was Faber's wife of several years who betrayed the secret, demanding an annulment and kicking off a sensational trial which ended with Faber's mandatory hospitalization — only after she had attempted suicide to avoid being stripped and paraded through the streets. Faber was eventually exiled to New Orleans, only to be resurrected and reclaimed by recent generations of Cubans in film, and more notably, in the final epic novel of the late great Antonio Benítez-Rojo. Tonight is a celebration, not only of the long-awaited translation of Woman in Battle Dress, but also of Benítez-Rojo's own life, which is nearly as exceptional as Faber's. Insightful translator Jessica Powell is joined by Suzanne Jill Levine, award-winning author of Manuel Puig and the Spider Woman, and Enrico Mario Santí, scholar of Cuban literature.

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