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Tentacle

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3.74  ·  Rating details ·  603 ratings  ·  132 reviews
Plucked from her life on the streets of post-apocalyptic Santo Domingo, young maid Acilde Figueroa finds herself at the heart of a Santería prophecy: only she can travel back in time and save the ocean – and humanity – from disaster. But first she must become the man she always was – with the help of a sacred anemone. Tentacle is an electric novel with a big appetite and a ...more
Paperback, 132 pages
Published November 15th 2018 by And Other Stories (first published April 1st 2015)
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3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  603 ratings  ·  132 reviews


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Nate D
At last, the queer, punk, dystopian novel of the Dominican Republic I should have been waiting for. For a minute in the second chapter I worried it would turn into that sort satire where characters no one can really care about get tossed about like puppets by arbitrary forces of authorial whim, but no, it turns out to be much stranger, and much more meticulously constructed than that. A smart pulp tour of Caribbean history, art, politics, and ecology.
Gumble's Yard
Nov 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
And Other Stories is a small UK publisher which “publishes some of the best in contemporary writing, including many translations” and aims “to push people’s reading limits and help them discover authors of adventurous and inspiring writing”. They are set up as a not-for-profit Community Interest Company and operate on a subscriber model – with subscribers (of which they now have around 1000 in 40 countries) committing in advance to enable the publication of future books.

Famously and admirably,
...more
Lark Benobi
I'm beginning to realize how much #metoo is changing the way I read. There is a lot of sexual violence in this novel, treated in a pulp-fiction-y way that I wouldn't have been so uncomfortable with even a year ago. Objectively I can say this is a unique story, where important themes weave through the novel in witty and imaginative ways. Subjectively I can say I felt unhappy and maybe even a little threatened as I read. It wasn't the feeling I wanted to feel, at the moment.
MJ Nicholls
A bundle of modish ideas and themes blasted in a blender and spattered across 130 pages to resemble something vaguely novellish.
Neil
Oct 19, 2018 rated it liked it
La Mucama de Omicunlé (Omikunle’s Maid) comes to us in the UK as Tentacle. There’s something about that new title that makes it sound more scary than it actually is. Then the blurb says …only she (the titular maid) can travel back in time and save the ocean – and humanity – from disaster. But first she must become the man she always was – with the help of a sacred anemone. When you read that description, you can understand why some reviewers here on Goodreads have called this “Caribbean Murakami ...more
Anna
Jan 03, 2019 rated it liked it
There’s a lot happening in the 130 pages of ‘Tentacle’. It flits through many narrative points of view and several points in time, which turn out to be linked in mysterious ways. There are elements of the dystopian, magical, and queer, as well as artistic, environmental, colonialist, and political themes. I appreciated all of these and thought the weird temporal structure of events was well executed. The combination was original and potentially really powerful. However the short length meant tha ...more
Toby
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, lit, translation
Reading Rita Indiana's dystopian novella Tentacle I was immediately reminded of the world building, structure and large in scope ideas of the post-cyberpunk of Paolo Baciagalupi and Ian MacDonald and as such craved the depth of exploration of character and scenario that their massive works allow for; but her style grips you and her ideas excite, her multi-layered structure compels you to dive in to the world she is painting and open your mind to her messages, and the lack of pages feels less imp ...more
Megan
Oh wow, this book. It's a vibrant, layered novella about ecology, colonialism, art and seeing, and the stuff of life. And it sprints. I thought the pacing and the size of the story were well-matched. I did actually keep having to backtrack and reread in the first chapter, and I still didn't always pay attention to what I probably should have been paying attention to. And still, looking back at the earliest chapters, there are so many little pieces of worldbuilding that I want to know more about. ...more
Marie-Therese
3.5 stars

While the narrative and language may not always have been as sophisticated as I might like, this was a heck of a good story and an easy, immensely enjoyable read that frequently tickled my deeper thought processes while satisfying the parts of my brain just looking for fun.

Rita Indiana knows the scene she draws here (art, music, fashion) inside and out and she tweaks and twists it in such a way that we can't help but get to know it too, whether we want to or not. The movement back and
...more
Daniel
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Yes, very clever.
At first I loved how lightning paced this was, and then I started to lose the plot. Finally, I stopped caring about keeping up.

I'm sure the fact that I had no fucking idea what was going on says more about me than the book, but yeah

Being fucking cray - cray isn't enough, it's a start but it's not enough.
Joel
Jul 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Caribbean Murakami.
Fucking loved it, I need more.
Mel
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-it, favorites
In a well-blended cocktail of one of my favorite writers, Ottessa Moshfegh, and a few of her contemporaries Claudia Dey, Claire Van Den Berg, Valeria Luiselli, plus the no-f***s-given nature of Bret Easton Ellis— Rita Indiana has created a niche all her own. I bow down to her feet, well below her brilliant mind which came up with the most bizarre tale I’ve yet read.

At the core Acilde’s heartbreaking past overshadows an uncertain future in the post-apocalyptic landscape that has a grip on the isl
...more
M.
Weird trippy gonzo fiction from the future ft. parallel temporalities; Yoruba spiritualism and near-future tech; ecological fatalism; fantastical full-body gender transition; an anemone-crowned god; knotty, dense prose full of seedy details and abrupt turns... this novel manages an epic sweep with a succinct 130 pages. Warrants a second read; I'm sure I didn't get it all.
Bill Hsu
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned, ebook
Some great ideas, but I really had trouble with the writing (and maybe the translation?)
Callum McAllister
Man that was a wild ride
Mason Jones
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this one a lot. It's not a straight-forward read, as the main characters exist in multiple overlapping time frames, but the complexity is handled well and the story comes through clearly. At first I wasn't entirely sure about it, mostly because one of our main characters, Argenis, is unpleasant and not too bright. So it was occasionally aggravating to deal with him and his actions, but I'm glad I persevered. If a book of sort-of time-traveling, cyberpunk-meets-oceanography, gender-changi ...more
Kristin MB
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bob Lopez
May 29, 2019 rated it liked it
What an odd little book. It was hard to get a hold on it at first, and really through to the end it felt like the interpretation of someone else's dream (one body, no...two bodies[?] that exist in distinct eras; sleep in one, awake in the other; gender swapping, sea anemones, environmental protection, pirates, Art and Art History, sex, violence, sexual violence. The plot was hard to trace but this book was a lot of fun.
Eloise Mcallister
bit wild for me tbh
Shatterlings
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: transleighteen
For such a short book this is kind of confusing with a gender swapping time travel ecological disaster story but by the end I kind of liked it and maybe a second read would make it all clearer. I would definitely have read a longer book by this author especially one set in the future she imagined here.
Vera Perez
I picked up this book after recognizing the name Rita Indiana as a singer/songwriter from Dominican Republic (DR). Little did I know she is a writer, a pretty darn good one at that, and that she already had tons of work published.

There should be a line that says "She/He/They got me at the premise". After reading that back cover I was hooked on pushing this to immediate TBR and I'm glad I did, plowed through it in no time.

This book was an intricate mix of Sci-fi, Time travelling, Dominico-Haitian
...more
Alison
Jul 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A small book with a big punch, Tentacle weaves sf themes, urban grit, political intrigue and incisive social commentary together into a dreamy meditation on humanity and our eventual downfall. It's much more fun than it sounds, trust me, even when you add in the confronting misogyny, including from a POV character.
Indiana is one of a few writers I have read recently who expect the reader to engage critically with perspectives portrayed in the novel. Obviously, all writers do this to an extent, b
...more
Maria
Time travel/body duplication, Dominican dystopia and sea anemone voodoo!
An extraordinarily enjoyable and interesting book.

The german translation does not read especially fluidly and probably would have needed some more care.

But the setting and story are so much fun!

It is not a book where I fell into the story or the characters, it rather unfolded in front of me and showed me a foreign world. And it does that in a really interesting way, it jerks me into these different situations that over time
...more
Mary Rose
I found this book extremely unpleasant to read. There was some clever writing (a man living two parallel universe lives at the same time, for example) but if I were just rating for enjoyment this would be a one star.

There are heavy topics here in terms of violence (pedophilia, sexual assault, homophobia, state sponsored murder, regular murder, etc.) but we never see any psychological consequences for these acts. They simply happen and then we move on. That, combined with the constant drug refere
...more
André Habet
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
time travel via sea anemone. multiple narrative cli-fi story that's a literary sci fi thriller unlike anything else I've read so far this year. really dig.
Hank
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A hyperliterate Santeria sci-fi as easy with Jack Kirby as it is with "Angelitos Negros." Indiana's writing brings to mind the bawdy satire Renaldo Arenas while living in its own fantastical world.
Clementine
May 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
This is a dense little book that's rich in ideas - about gender, sexuality, colonialism, art, environmentalism, Santería, folklore, capitalism. As someone with little knowledge of the cyperpunk genre Indiana is drawing on or of the intricacies of Dominican politics, I'm sure I missed a lot of the finer points of the novel. I found it a bit stomach-turning in places; there's a lot of sexual violence and a real disgusting misogynist whose thoughts we are privy to. I don't necessarily think that wa ...more
Sean Kottke
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, read-harder
A bookseller in San Juan recommended that I check out Rita Indiana based on my enthusiasm for Pedro Cabiya's work, and wow, was that recommendation spot-on. Genre-defying is a term that gets tossed around a lot, especially for books that are mash-ups of well worn genres. I saw it applied here, but it's not correct. This is straight-up speculative fiction, with its feet solidly planted in the storytelling styles of Octavia Butler's "Kindred" and Marge Piercy's "Woman on the Edge of Time." However ...more
Caitlin
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
Tentacle covers an incredible range of subjects and themes -- class divisions, trans rights, sex work and sexual violence, climate change, religion, the process of creating art, time travel and/or dream-reality confusion -- but none of them were well executed. I was certainly never bored, but I wanted so much more.
William
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was very confusing and hard to follow.
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Rita Indiana Hernández Sánchez (born 11 June 1977) is a Dominican writer, and singer-songwriter.

Rita Indiana Hernández es una escritora, compositora, cantante y modelo dominicana. Fue seleccionada por el diario El País como una de las 100 personalidades latinas más influyentes en 2011.
“¿De dónde sacaste a este muñeco? dijo el alemán con un fuerte acento, y luego riendo: te va a ir muy bien en este país ser blanco es una profesión” 0 likes
“Las mentiras, pensaba Acilde, son como unas habichuelas, hay que sazonarlas bien o no hay quien se las coma” 0 likes
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