Tentacle cover
Rita Indiana


Winner of the 2017 Grand Prize of the Association of Caribbean Writers

Longlisted for the 2020 Best Translated Book Award

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 brave vision, plunging headfirst into questions of climate change, technology, Yoruba ritual, queer politics, poverty, sex, colonialism and contemporary art. Bursting with punk energy and lyricism, it’s a restless, addictive trip: The Tempest meets the telenovela.

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  • Winner of the 2017 Grand Prize of the Association of Caribbean Writers.
  • Longlisted for the Best Translated Book Award 2020
  • Rita Indiana made her name in the Caribbean as a neo-merengue musician. You can watch some of her music videos here.
  • Read Rita Indiana’s piece on rap sensation Cardi B for Granta magazine here.
  • The New York Times mentioned Tentacle in their sneak preview of books from around the world that will be published in the US in 2019.
  • Rita Indiana shares her ultimate Pride anthems, which include Juan Gabriel‘s “Querida,” George Michael‘s “Father Figure” and Arca‘s “Time.”
Print status: Available
Author: Rita Indiana
Translator: Achy Obejas
Original language: Spanish
Format: B-format paperback
Publication date (UK): 15 November 2018
Publication date (US): 15 January 2019
ISBN: 9781911508342
Ebook ISBN: 9781911508359
Availability: World
Number of pages: 144


Alexandra Gonzenbach Perkins

‘Alcide is a queer world unto himself. He travels through the history of the Dominican Republic, revealing its queer foundations while challenging the notion that time and space are static, unchanging categories.’

Alexandra Marraccini
Times Literary Supplement

'Tentacle is as strange and beautiful a sea-change as its epigraph from The Tempest suggests … Achy Obejas brings the volume to English language readers with a social burja-cyborg flare - at once witchy, almost shamanisitically intuitive about the nature of language, and yet precise.'

Kristie Soares
Los Angeles Review of Books

'Tentacle is not a book that produces catharsis. It is the opposite. It is a book that demands reflection from its reader and then, hopefully, action. [...] The cruelty of the past is also that of the present — a reality ensured by those who cling to power and its many cloaks: white supremacy, misogyny, and transphobia. If the future is to be different, it will be up to the marginalized and to those who are willing to disinvest in privilege. Our planet’s future rests quite literally, the novel suggests, with the fate of the oppressed.'

Amy Brady
Chicago Review of Books

'From beginning to end, Tentacle is a strange, unnerving, and at times beautiful book that critiques global inequality and the politicization of climate change.'

Tobias Carroll
Words Without Borders

'Where to begin? Rita Indiana’s Tentacle has the settings, themes, and expansiveness of a much larger book, but it blends that ambition with a host of irreverence (along with some nods to the music of Giorgio Moroder, which is never a bad thing). It’s a time-travel story, a meditation on gender and sexuality, and an art-world satire—as well as, arguably, a satire of ‘chosen one’ narrative tropes. To say that this is unlike anything else you’ll read this year is probably stating the obvious.'

Suzi Feay
The Guardian

Tentacle shapeshifts dizzyingly around three time spans and a loosely connected group of characters, and takes on huge themes, including race and gender, the impact of tourism, apocalyptic events and ecological disaster. [...] Whether we would really want to change the past, given the opportunity, is one question posed in this blast of a novel; what it is to act beyond self-interest is another. Tentacle reads like Kathy Acker with a tighter narrative grip.’

Ellen Jones
Los Angeles Review of Books

Tentacle reaches back and forward through the ages, harnessing the fluidity of time, gender, and the natural world to reflect on colonial history and imagine a deeply disturbing future. [...] Obejas’s English version certainly captures some of that vernacular feel, mobilising US slang as well as Spanish syntax and vocabulary, reminding readers that while this is a story with a global vision, it has a Caribbean setting.’


‘An electric novel with a big appetite and a brave vision.’

Arifa Akbar
The Observer

'This novel takes on big themes - gender, poverty, ecology, colonialism – without being weighed down by them. The plot is fast and furious, though complicated by three time zones, and her storytelling is powerful, with plenty of punk spirit.'

Booksellers on Tentacle

'A fasten-your-seat-belt, strap-on-your-crash-helmet novel of magic, time travel, art, buccaneers, ecological disaster, and more. Unlike any dystopian novel you've read, Indiana pushes and stretches the form like an octopus working its way through a maze to pose fundamental questions about gender, identity, and society. This book should make Rita Indiana a literary superstar.' Josh Cook from Porter Square Books "Tentacle is an electric tropical sci-fi from one of the Dominican's best writers. Absolutely thrilling, this fast-paced novel encompasses themes of magic, time travel, environmentalism, and more. What seems like a humble book on the outside is, in fact, an explosion of philosophical thought, stunning writing, and expert storytelling. Rita Indiana will be staying on my radar!" Laura Graveline from Brazos Bookstore "A fast-paced post-eco-apocalyptic dystopia like nothing you've ever read before. Rita Indiana is a masterful storyteller and philosopher and weaves interrogations of everything from colonialism and contemporary art to queer politics and Yoruba ritual into a gripping race to prevent nuclear destruction of the oceans. I finished this book, took a 24hr pause, and read it again." Alex Neff from A Room of One's Own Bookstore

Alt.Latino, NPR.org

‘Indiana is truly a renaissance woman. Not only is she one of the most exciting Dominican authors in recent years, she is also a musical force to be reckoned with . . . She’s one of those rare artists whose music you can either dance to or sit down and listen to as if it were a great novel.’

SWR2 Radio

‘A great novel. There’s so much in it: the history of the Dominican Republic, politics and of course religion. Music is referenced, and biology, conservationism too, and it’s full of wit, thanks to the way Rita Indiana tells it.’

Eva Karnofsky
Deutschlandfunk Radio

‘Rita Indiana is comfortable with the language of modern technology, but her joy in storytelling, the effervescence of her imagination, and the way she wraps stories within stories are all firmly part of a Latin American tradition: TENTACLE recalls important works from the sixties like Gabriel García Márquez’s ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE.’

El País on Papi

‘Reads like an extended song . . . So fast-paced that it must be swallowed whole, for setting it aside is as dangerous as jumping from a speeding motorcycle.’

Ralph Hammerthaler
Süddeutsche Zeitung 

‘Merengue star Indiana knows how to get things dancing. Her literary tricks come from the oral traditions of voodoo and Santería. Many of TENTACLE’s characters are reincarnations of earlier lives and linked to those lives. In this way she infects the visible world with the invisible world.’

Judith von Sternburg
Frankfurter Rundschau

‘Rita Indiana is unclassifiable. TENTACLE is a kind of pulp fiction for the educated classes, a wild but carefully conceived combination of sci-fi adventure, art-world-cum-hipster-satire, eco- and socially-aware thriller, with a work of Caribbean studies breaking in from the side. It works. The tone is cool and nonchalant. The characters achieve that; the author never intrudes between them and us ... When the dénouement comes it is brutal and irresistibly attractive.’

Junot Díaz

‘Rita Indiana is fearless and brilliant and TENTACLE is her finest novel, an unforgettable experience.’