On Limited Perspective

I hope the book is wiser than my protagonist. Mockingbird is told in the first person; it is an intensely subjective story. Mia is a good person, a thoughtful person. Her love and faith are as strong as storms. But her refusal to fully acknowledge her own unearned, culturally conferred privileges (beauty, wealth, whiteness and a passport) allows her to wreak havoc. It is her job as an actress to imagine other lives; does she imagine the other characters more than she sees them? Especially with regard to the Cuban characters? Mia is a tourist in Havana; she doesn’t speak the language, she has no deep knowledge of the culture. To what extent can a tourist know a country, to what extent can a person know another, especially if veils of culture and language must first be parted? I committed to writing Mia, to inhabiting her, to not judging her. I keep my fingers crossed that the other characters –Alex, Carlos, Dolores, Magdalena– can hold their own in the margins. That the book, the reader, can sense these lives in the round, even as Mia insists on her own limited, subjective rendering of them.