Memories of Development

A Last Novel
Edmundo Desnoes
Memories of Development


Memories of Development takes an intimate look at the long-term effects of exile and disillusion within the Cuban diaspora. Edmundo, a former revolutionary who immigrated long ago to the United States, now finds himself in his sixties facing an uncertain future and the encroachment of old age and death. As he takes stock of his life, we see a man who has let his failed ideals and corrosive desires shatter his faith in humanity and leave him exquisitely isolated. Estranged from the idealism of his remembered past and the material realities of his North American present, Edmundo is a man straddling two worlds with little hope of finding peace in either.

“Four decades after Memories of Underdevelopment, Desnoes flexes his muscles again to close the circle and demonstrate, by the way, that his masterwork was no fluke. This second part, though independent of the first, is a similar torrent of strong prose that casts its propulsive ideas directly at the consciousness. A meticulous game of excavation that offers the reader many hours of pleasure and not a few disturbing questions. It is never too late to unearth an undiscovered master.” —Alejandro Luque, Spanish writer and journalist

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About the Author

Edmundo Desnoes is a former Cuban revolutionary who defected to Italy in 1979 and settled in the United States in 1980. He is the author of four novels, including No hay problema (1961), El cataclismo (1965), and Memorias del subdesarrollo (1965), which has been described as the “signature book of the early revolution,” translated into more than twenty languages, and adapted into what is now a classic film of twentieth-century cinema. The fourth, Memorias del desarrollo, is the latter’s sequel, which was published in Spain in 2007. Desnoes has also written collections of critical essays and critiques of photography and art. He is a professor emeritus of NYU who lives in New York City and is currently doing a series of lecture tours around the world.

Al Schaller translated Edmundo Desnoes’s 1965 novel Memories of Underdevelopment (Latin American Literary Review Press, 2004) and is the author of an essay entitled “Pursuit of the ‘New Man’ in Edmundo Desnoes’ Memories of Underdevelopment,” published in 2009 in Hispanófila.