As you may have heard, the launch of my next Inspector Ramirez novel, Hungry Ghosts, will be linked to an art exhibition of works done by artists based on their reading of an advance copy. The action takes place both in Havana and on a fictional reserve in Northern Ontario: Ramirez and Charlie Pike are investigating the murders of prostitutes without realizing (although the reader knows) that they are after the same killer.
The advance copies were sent out last week, and I got this email last night from one of the artists that I thought I’d share. This particular artist, Lauren Amalia Redding, is Cuban-American, so her feedback means a lot to me (she also does the most beautiful pencil portraits that you can imagine): here’s a sample.
“Hi Peggy, just letting you know that I received the ARC last week. The afternoon I got it, I started reading it, and did not put it down until I finished it that night. Just riveting.
“I know too much about human rights violations in Cuba, but Peggy, what struck me about Hungry Ghosts was the treatment of the Aboriginal peoples (I hope that’s the right term) in Canada. This may be just me all too soundly perpetuating the American stereotype of an American not being familiar with any other history aside from my own, but knowing that your background is in Aboriginal law, I was floored. Human rights violations, unfortunately, really do seem to happen everywhere—even the most seemingly progressive and forward-thinking of places, like Canada.
“I am REALLY bummed now that I won’t be able to make the opening, but all the more excited to finish my works for it. Of course they’re of Cuban subjects, as I feel somewhat protective of them; but this new insight into how First Nations are treated simultaneously opened my eyes and broke my heart. Thanks for making me aware of that. The Cuban in me wants to make you mojitos and make you a dinner of rice and beans as a thank you. :).”
Thank YOU, Lauren. I can’t wait to see your art! (And we’ll have that dinner another time.)