|Subject||September 11, Terrorism, Colonialism, Revolution, Puerto Rican Independence, Love|
|Set in||State of Liberty and United Nations in New York City; La Fortaleza in San Juan, Puerto Rico|
United States of Banana (2011) is a postmodern geopolitical tragicomedy by the Puerto Rican author Giannina Braschi. It is a cross-genre work that blends experimental theatre, prose poetry, short story, and political philosophy with a manifesto on democracy and American life in a post–9/11 world. The book dramatizes the global war on terror and narrates the author's displacement after the attacks from her home in the Battery Park neighborhood in New York City. The work addresses Latin American immigration to the United States, Puerto Rico's colonial status, and "power imbalances within the Americas."
Part One: Ground Zero
Part One, titled as "Ground Zero", critiques 21st-century capitalism and corporate censorship with its depictions of New York City before and during the September 11 attacks. Part One unfolds through a collection of metafiction, short stories, and philosophical essays on American culture since the attacks on the World Trade Center. Using avant-garde techniques, Braschi links post-9/11 fears of terrorism with the "daily suffering that stems from a changing, debt-ridden economy to offer a scathing critique of neoliberal economic and social reforms."
Part Two: United States of Banana
In Part Two, called "United States of Banana", the structure radically changes from political manifesto and philosophical fiction into an experimental theater play about economic terrorism, U.S. colonialism, liberty, and love. Historical literary characters Hamlet and Zarathustra (Zoroaster) join the author's alter-ego, Giannina, on a quest to liberate the Puerto Rican prisoner Segismundo from the dungeon of the Statue of Liberty, where he has been held by his father, the king of the United States of Banana, for more than 100 years, for the crime of having been born. When the King remarries, he frees his son, and for the sake of reconciliation, makes Puerto Rico the fifty-first state and grants American passports to all Latin American citizens.
The play dramatizes the plight of prisoners in the United States, Puerto Rico's position as an American territory, and Braschi's struggle for liberty. By having the people of Puerto Rico vote on Segismundo's liberty, the work satirizes the three political options of Puerto Rico: statehood, nation, or colony. The prison scenes feature Middle Eastern prisoners of war, including those classified as terrorists, who are detained indefinitely.
- American photographer Michael Somoroff directed and produced a series of short art films of the author's oral interpretation of the book; these films debuted at Cervantes Institute in New York on December 1, 2012.
- In 2015, Colombian film and theater director Juan Pablo Felix adapted United States of Banana for the stage as a play of the same name. This production premiered at Schapiro Theater at Columbia University in New York City with soundtrack and music scored by Suzana Peric.
- In 2017, the novel was adapted into a graphic novel by Swedish cartoonist Joakim Lindengren.
- Aldama, Frederick Luis and Tess O’Dwyer, eds. Poets, Philosophers, Lovers: On the Writings of Giannina Braschi. University of Pittsburgh Press (2020).
- Aldama, Frederick, and Christopher González. Latinx Studies: The Key Concepts. Routledge, 2018.
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- Ashbaugh, Anne. “Exile and Burial of Ontological Sameness: A Dialogue Between Zarathustra and Giannina.” Poets, Philosophers, Lovers: On the Writings of Giannina Braschi. University of Pittsburgh Press. (2020).
- Beck, Evelyn. Review of United States of Banana. Library Journal. (2011)
- Clarkson, Shaun. “Torching the Symbols of Liberty in United States of Banana.” Creative Sanctions: Imaginative Limits and the Post-9/11 Novel. Purdue University, 2017.
- Cruz-Malavé, Arnaldo Manuel. "Under the Skirt of Liberty: Giannina Braschi Rewrites Empire." American Quarterly 66.3. (2014)
- Daniele, Daniela. “Gamifying World Literature: Giannina Braschi’s United States of Banana (The Cartoon Art of September 11th).” Poets, Philosophers, Lovers: On the Writings of Giannina Braschi. University of Pittsburgh Press. (2020)
- Daniele, Daniela. “Review of United States of Banana: Apocalypse and Grand-Guignol” Evergreen Review. No. 128-129. (Spring 2012)
- Felix, Juan Pablo. “United States of Banana: A Postcolonial Dramatic Fiction Columbia University Academic Commons. (2015)
- Gonzalez, Madelena. “The Uncommon Wealth of Art: Poetic Progress as Resistance to the Commodification of Culture in United States of Banana.” Poets, Philosophers, Lovers: On the Writings of Giannina Braschi. University of Pittsburgh Press. (2020)
- Gonzalez, Madelena. "United States of Banana (2011), Elizabeth Costello (2003) and Fury (2001): Portrait of the Writer as the ‘Bad Subject’ of Globalisation." Études britanniques contemporaines. (2014)
- Gonzalez, Madelena and Helene Laplace-Claverie, eds. Minority Theater on the Global Stage: Challenging Paradigms from the Margins. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. (2012)
- Hitchcock, Peter. "Novelization in Decolonization, or Postcolonialism Reconsidered." Globes: Past and Peripheral Imaginations of Globalization. Ferdinand, Simon, and Irene Villaescusa-Illán, eds. Palgrave Macmillan. (2019)
- Lara-Bonilla, Inmaculada. Review of Estados Unidos Banana. Chasqui: Reviews. (December 2018)
- Levingston, Steven. “Dog-eared and Tattered: Writers reflect on their favorite works of literature.” The Washington Post: Book World. (September 16, 2012)
- Loingsigh, Aedin Ni. ���Rewriting and Original Writing: Culture Clashes, Trauma and Emerging Discourses in Giannina Braschi's United States of Banana.” Rewriting in the 20th-21st Centuries: Aesthetic Choice or Political Act? Epinoux, Estelle and Nathatlie Martinière, eds. Paris: M. Houdiard. (2015)
- Lowry, Elizabeth. "The Human Barnyard: Rhetoric, Identification, and Symbolic Representation in Giannina Braschi’s United States of Banana." Representing 9/11: Trauma, Ideology, and Nationalism in Literature, Film, and Television. Petrovic, Paul, ed. Rowman & Littlefield. (2015)
- Lugo-Bertrán, Dorian. “Leaping Off the Page: Giannina Braschi’s Intermedialities.” Poets, Philosophers, Lovers: On the Writings of Giannina Braschi. University of Pittsburgh Press. (2020)
- Mendoza-de Jesús, Ronald. “Free-dom: United States of Banana and the Limits of Sovereignty” (on Jacques Derrida and Giannina Braschi). Poets, Philosophers, Lovers: On the Writings of Giannina Braschi. University of Pittsburgh Press. (2020)
- Pérez, Rolando. "The Bilingualisms of Latino/a Literatures" Ilan Stavans, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Latino Studies. (2020)
- Perisic, Alexandra. Precarious Crossings: Immigration, Neoliberalism, and the Atlantic. The Ohio State University Press. (2019)
- Popescu, Maria-Irina. "Reimagining Traitors: Pearl Abraham's American Taliban and the Case of John Walker Lindh." Journal of American Studies 53.3. (2019)
- Ramos, Francisco José. “The Holy Trinity: Money, Power, and Success in United States of Banana.” Poets, Philosophers, Lovers. University of Pittsburgh Press. (2020)
- Rathke, Edward. Interview with Giannina Braschi. Monkey Bicycle. (August 23, 2013)
- Remeseira, Claudio Iván. “Summer Reads: Brilliant takes on Nuyoricans, Random Murder and Narco-literatura.” NBC Latino. (2013)
- Riofrio, John. "Falling for debt: Giannina Braschi, the Latinx Avant-garde, and Financial Terrorism in the United States of Banana." Latino Studies 18.1. (2020)
- Romero-Cesareo, Yvette and Lisa Paravisini-Gebert, eds. “New Book: Giannina Braschi’s United States of Banana.” Repeating Islands. (December 12, 2011)
- Rother, Larry. “Rushdie Brings PEN Festival to a Close.” The New York Times. (May 7, 2012)
- Smith, Amanda M. and Sheeran, Amy. Introduction. “United States of Banana, A Graphic Novel.” Joakim Lindengren and Giannina Braschi.” The Ohio State University Press. (2021)
- Smith, Amanda M. and Sheeran, Amy. "A Graphic Revolution: Talking Poetry and Politics with Giannina Braschi." Chiricú Journal: Latina/o Literature, Arts, and Culture, 2.2. (2018)
- Soto, Natasha. “Hispanic Heritage Month: Recommending Female Latin American Authors.” New York Public Library. (2018)
- Stanchich, Maritza. “Bilingual Big Bang: Giannina Braschi’s Trilogy Levels the Spanish-English Playing Field.” Pittsburgh. (2020)
- Waldron, John V. Review of Estados Unidos de Banana. Trad. Manuel Broncano. Feministas Unidas. (2018)
- Pérez, Rolando. "The Bilingualisms of Latino/a Literatures." The Oxford Handbook of Latino Studies (2020): 282.
- Riofrio, John (January 28, 2020). "Falling for debt: Giannina Braschi, the Latinx avant-garde, and financial terrorism in the United States of Banana". Latino Studies. 18: 66–81. doi:10.1057/s41276-019-00239-2.
- Torrens, Claudia (October 20, 2011). "Novela de Braschi fantasea con un mundo ideal para hispanos. [Braschi's Novel Fantasizes About Ideal World for Hispanics]". Associated Press. Archived from the original on August 13, 2014. Retrieved April 16, 2013.(in Spanish)
- Perisic, Alexandra (2019). Precarious Crossings: Immigration, Neoliberalism, and the Atlantic. Ohio: The Ohio State University Press. pp. 152–173. hdl:1811/88397. ISBN 978-0-8142-5552-0.
- Roth, Larry (May 7, 2012). "Rushdie Brings PEN Festival to Close". The New York Times. New York.
'A critique of 21st century capitalism in which [Braschi] condemned corporate censorship and control.'
- Braschi, Giannina (2011). United States of Banana. Seattle. p. 45. ISBN 978-1611090673.
- Pérez-Duthie, Juan Carlos (November 24, 2011). "Autora busca la libertad en la palabra: "United States of Banana", lo nuevo y controversial de la boricua Giannina Braschi (Author Searches for Liberty in the Word, The New and Controversial "United States of Banana" by Boricua Giannina Braschi)". Sun Sentinel. Miami.
- Cruz-Malavé, Arnaldo Manuel. "Under the Skirt of Liberty: Giannina Braschi Rewrites Empire." American Quarterly 66.3 (2014): 801-818.
- "Review of United States of Banana," Library Journal', 1 October 2011
- Romero, Ivette (December 12, 2011). "New Book: Giannina Braschi's United States of Banana". Repeating Islands: News and Commentary on Caribbean Culture.
- Delgado, José A. (September 24, 2012). "La libertad no es una opción, es un derecho [Liberty is Not an Option, It is a Right]". El Nuevo Día.
- Hernandez, Carmen Dolores (February 2012). "El reino del absurdo [The Reign of the Absurd]". El Nuevo Día. San Juan, Puerto Rico.
'Puerto Rico's destiny should be decided between "wishy", "wishy-washy" or "washy"'
- POETS, PHILOSOPHERS, LOVERS : on the writings of giannina braschi. [Place of publication not identified]: UNIV OF PITTSBURGH Press. 2020. ISBN 978-0-8229-4618-2. OCLC 1143649021.
- Perisic, Alexandra (2019). Precarious Crossings: Immigration, Neoliberalism, and the Atlantic. Ohio: The Ohio State University Press. pp. 152–153. hdl:1811/88397. ISBN 978-0-8142-5552-0.
- "NYS Literary Tree, United States of Banana". NYSCA. December 1, 2011.
- Lugo Bertrán, Dorian (2020). "Leaping Off the Page: Giannina Braschi's Intermedialities," POETS, PHILOSOPHERS, LOVERS. [Place of publication not identified]: UNIV OF PITTSBURGH Press. ISBN 978-0-8229-4618-2. OCLC 1143649021.
- "United States of Banana, a play based on the book by Giannina Braschi". Poets and Writers Magazine. May 2015.
Colombian film and theater director Juan Pablo Felix brings to the stage for the first time 'United States of Banana,' by poet Giannina Braschi on the post-911 American psyche around the politics of empire and independence.[dead link]
- "Columbia Theater Director Debuts United States of Banana". LatinoLa Magazine. May 2015.
The work depicts New York City as "the Darwinist capital of the Capitalist word" and U.S. imperialism as doomed as "a chicken with its head cut off".
- "New Release: A Swedish Comic Book of United States of Banana". gianninabraschi. 2017-04-30. Retrieved 2017-05-21.
The Swedish Comic Book publisher COBOLT will release Joakim Lindengren's illustrated version of United States of Banana by Giannina Braschi in Swedish translation by the poet Helena Eriksson. The graphic dramatic novel will be released at The Stockholm International Comics Festival, taking place in May 19–21st, 2017.
- "United States of Banana | Cobolt Förlags webshop". Cobolt Förlag. Retrieved 2017-05-21.
- "Vol. 2, No. 2, Spring 2018 of Chiricú Journal: Latina/o Literatures, Arts, and Cultures on JSTOR". doi:10.2979/chiricu.2.issue-2 (inactive 2020-08-23). Cite journal requires
- . National Book Festival (Transcript and Webcast: Giannina Braschi's United States of Banana), Library of Congress Archives, Washington DC, 24 September 2012
- Video by Michael Somoroff of Giannina Braschi reading United States of Banana, New York, November 2012