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4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  378 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
This moving novel tells the tumultuous story of Tina Modotti, an Italian refugee to the United States who initially gained attention as a Hollywood actress. Brilliant, beautiful, fiery, and promiscuous, Modotti modeled for and lived with photographer Edward Weston in Mexico in the 1920s. An accomplished photographer herself, she became a militant member of the Mexican Comm ...more
Published February 1st 1998 by Penguin Books (first published 1992)
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Terminé este libro hace dos semanas y decidí no escribir mi opinión inmediatamente, con el propósito de digerirlo y asimilarlo. Es un libro estupendo, lleno, vibrante, sobre la vida y la época de la Modotti, sobre el México de principios de siglo (que conserva muchas similitudes con el actual) y sobre el amor. Es una biografía de la fotográfa italiana, pero también una biografía de México visto desde los ojos de un extranjero, si se considera que la autora, a pesar de haberse criado en México,
Jan 04, 2009 Stephen rated it it was amazing
Mexico is like a noisy neighbor you do your best to avoid. A lot of the noise is unintelligible; in a different language.

Politicians want to build a wall to keep Mexican migrants out physically, but they might feel differently about our neighbors if language and culture were not the real barriers to that which might bridge the distance between us.


Mexican authoress Elena Poniatowska, for example, needs a translator. Barring calls from some important New York publisher seeking to
Before reading this novel, what I knew of Tina Modotti came from a single Edward Weston photograph. A beautiful woman with penetrating eyes.

Once I began to read "TINISIMA", I became utterly captivated with the life of Tina Modotti. Elena Poniatowska has a way of making the narrative read as if Tina Modotti herself were relating various happenings from her life to the reader, while the author adds her own commentaries as a supplement.

The more I read of this novel, the more I found myself curiou
Eliana Rivero
Muy bien escrito pero sumamente aburrido. A pesar de que hay contratiempos, traiciones, incógnitas y amor, me pareció aburridísimo. Creo que Poniatowska hizo una novela muy lograda y que cuenta detalladamente de su investigación sobre Tina Modotti y todo el aire revolucionario y comunista que la rodeó hasta su muerte. En las páginas se sienten los tiempos del cambio, el amor a México, al mundo, al arte. Según mi opinión, esta es una historia ficcionalizada: a pesar de que son hechos y fechas ver ...more
Héctor Barranco
Jul 06, 2013 Héctor Barranco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Una obra hermosa, muy conmovedora. Retrata el México y mundo de la década de 1920 y 1930 a través de la vida de Tina Modotti, una mujer que vivió con pasión en cada una de las facetas desu vida.
Manuel Ramos
May 15, 2014 Manuel Ramos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Elena Poniatowska has written more than forty books in a variety of formats and genres. Probably her best-known work is the nonfiction investigative book, La noche de Tlatelolco (Massacre in Mexico) (1971), about the 1968 government repression of student protestors in Mexico City. She also wrote about the devastating 1985 Mexico City earthquake, Nada nadie. Las voces del temblor (Nothing No one: The Voices of the Earthquake) (1988.) In each of these books she used eyewitness accounts that she ob ...more
Apr 02, 2016 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I struggle with fictional biographies as a genre--I find they skip over too many details to give a historical overview. In this way I think this book was similar to The Lacuna. But the history was really interesting, and clearly well-researched--Poniatowska spent ten years researching the life of Tina Modotti to write this novel. And you can see the details of her research on every page. But sometimes, it's too much. There are so many names that it's hard to keep track of people, some of whom ap ...more
I tried to read this in Spanish but Poniatowska's writing is too disjointed, each scene based on dialog or imagery rather than a narrative line, and it was too much of a struggle. The English translation took such liberties, not only leaving out large chunks (which is to be expected if the book is being somewhat abridged) but also rearranging what was there so completely (paragraph by paragraph, line by line, image by image) that it was no help for me as a guide for the Spanish. About halfway th ...more
Giovaennchen Lozano
Una biograf'ía muy al estilo de Elena Poniatowska. La vida de Tina Modotti, una mujer que siguió sus instintos, al amor, a las desventuras. Con una forma de ver la vida muy especial, y que se refleja en sus fotografías. A pesar del mundo tan turbulento que le tocó vivir, ve la belleza en las pequeñas y sencillas cosas a su alrededor. Eso es lo que más me gustó de esta novela - biografía - obra. Pero también me quedó el dolor de la desilusión, la impotencia, la desesperanza y la rabia que sintió ...more
Davide Casagrandi
Excelente novela-biografia sobre Tina Modoti, de la cual, debo confesar, conocia muy poco, casi nada. Solo sabia de su relacion con Julio Antonio Mella cuando este murio' asesinado en Mexico. Jamas imagine' que tuvo una vida tan intensa. Y creo muy dificil que lea otro libro donde aparezcan personajes de la relevancia historia o cultural de Julio Antonio Mella, Edward Weston, Jose Vasconcelos, Xavier Guerrero, Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Pablo O'Higgins, Frida Khalo, Stalin, Rafael Alb ...more
Sep 01, 2007 Cassidy rated it really liked it
This is not exactly a biography, but it's a beautiful work based on the life of Tina Modotti, one of my favorite photographers. I read this while I was in Nicaragua and it was part of what inspired me to study Nicaraguan photographers. Very, very cool. Also kind of sexy. After reading this, I was in Cuba and saw Julio Antonio Mella's death mask (he was Tina's lover and a Cuban Communist revolutionary in Mexico. The book talks about how he was murdered while Tina was with him, so I already had a ...more
Dec 15, 2012 Mat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this book more or less by accident, and was surprised how quickly i was drawn into it. The author really brings to life the story of a woman who i wish i'd learned about in history class. It was also a really compelling rendition of the Spanish Revolution, a subject i always enjoy reading about. I liked reading about these events throgh Tinisima's eyes, she was kind of the zealot i would have rolled my eyes at, and i was impressed to what extent Poniatowska helped me to walk in ...more
May 23, 2007 Suan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poniatowska retraces, reimagines Italian photographer Tina Modotti's life. In doing so, Poniatowska also paints the political turmoil of 20s, 30s Mexico, the communist struggle in Spain and mainly how those who fought for the Republic became disillusioned with the movement's waivering and waning ideals.
However, the prose --though brilliant at times-- seems to fall trap of a writer's self-indulgence.
Amy Ambrosio
Jun 27, 2009 Amy Ambrosio rated it it was amazing
I read this book several years ago and loved the dramatic rendering of Tina Modetti's life of political, artistic and romantic passions. Elena Poniatowska brought Modetti's life into sharp focus with her usual compassion and honesty. I recommend it to Ponnniatowska fains, as well as readers who want to understand the worlds that Modetti and fellow political artists lived in Mexico in the early 20th century.
Dec 05, 2014 Julie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ugh, okay, so this book was hard to rate. It was chock full of information about Tina Modotti and her life and times in Mexico, Berlin, Moscow, etc and her involvement and dedication to the Communist party in the 20's and 30's. I could really relate to her feelings about Mexico and it's people, but the second half of the book, for me, got bogged down with names and political parties and was haphazardly written. On the one hand fascinating, and on the other frustrating.
Rebecca Carranza
Fascinating novel about the life of photographer Tina Modotti in Mexico, Germany, and Russia. She lived in Mexico and interacted with Frida and Diego. She was implicated in the assassination of her Cuban lover. Ashley Judd played her in the movie Frida, in which Salma Hayek played Frida and Alfred Molina was Diego. Modotti was also the protege and lover of Edward Weston. Poniatowska is a fabulous writer.
Aug 22, 2009 cory rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
i got this book because i wanted to read something by elena poniatowska & i thought i might read it in english first & then read it in spanish. but it was WAY too depressing to read a second time. it's an interesting glimpse into the lives of communist activists in the 30's and 40's, but be ready that life kicks the crap out of tina modotti & she goes progressively downhill.
Lucy Bledsoe
So difficult to judge a book in translation. This was a fascinating read about Tina Modotti and many of her friends and colleagues, like Weston and Rivera. It's also a deeply honest story about aha tit means to be an artist and political. I loved reading about how she negotiated her work and personal relationships.
Dec 16, 2009 Krista rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books of all time -- combination of a great, true story of a woman revolutionary/artist, who was present at great moments in time (Mexican revolution and Bolshevik revolution), written by a brilliant author and journalist. I should read this book again... who knows if I'd love it 8 years after I read it the first time.
Although I enjoyed reading this fictional biography about Tina Modotti, I would have enjoyed reading more about her photography, her life with Edward Weston and relationships with Diego Rivera & Freida.
Jul 20, 2015 Virna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recordando la lectura de esta novela-biografía que me zambulló en una vorágine de personajes-historia de México y que me permitió escuchar, oler y mirar en forma diferente una época de la historia de mi país.
Chula Brown Buffalo
This was a profound book. Elena Poniatowska is an eloquent writer who brought Tina Modotti back to life. I am blown away by the lie she lead and the language Poniatowska uses. Now my life's goal will be to find and read this book in its original Spanish. I feel changed.
Julietissima La
Oct 14, 2015 Julietissima La rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A most passionate time traveling experience to post-revolutionary Mexico through the heart of Tina Modotti. Highly recommend this book, especially to anyone that wants to learn more about Mexican history and culture.
Aug 06, 2011 Rodrigo rated it did not like it
Normalmente Poniatowska me encanta, pero éste la verdad, no me gustó nada. ¿Será que por andar en política ya perdió el toque la señora? Aburrido, repetitivo, parece más un reportaje que un relato o una biografía.
Jun 05, 2012 Daniela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hasta que leí Tinísima entendí la canción Spanish Bombs de The Clash. Lo que me quedó grabado, incluso más que el retrato de la vida en México, los artistas, activismo, etc. fue la Guerra Civil española. Excelente historia.
Feb 06, 2008 Jordan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. Tells all about revolutionaries in Mexico and Spain. With a realistic edge because it is historical fiction.
Dec 29, 2012 Guillermo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Disfruté enormemente esta lectura.
Fer Martínez
Mar 14, 2009 Fer Martínez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Áparte de ser uno de mis libros favoritos es una de mis fotógrafas preferidas.... que combinación!!
Feb 20, 2008 Clayton rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I have ever read. I love reads like this one- going into the heart and mind of revolutionaries and written in a super-poetic and awesome way.
Andres Varela
Oct 04, 2013 Andres Varela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
La gran obra de Elena, la historia de Tina es algo que debería llevarse la cine, es de no creer, es para una miniserie mejor, son tantas cosas en una sola vida que es envidiable y difícil de creer.
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2015 Reading Chal...: Tinísima by Elena Poniatowska 1 27 Dec 18, 2014 09:04PM  
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Elena Poniatowska was born on May 19, 1933, in Paris, France. Her father was French of Polish ancestry and her mother a Mexican who was raised in France. When she was nine Poniatowska's family moved to Mexico City. She grew up speaking French and learned English in a private British school. However, her knowledge of Spanish came from talking with the maids, so her written Spanish was largely collo ...more
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“se desprecia a las mujeres, se les consume, se les desecha, se les estigmatiza, se les cuelga para siempre al árbol patriarcal y allí se les ahorca” 3 likes
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