Feed on
Posts
Comments

Category Archive for 'Cuba'

Cuba in 1992, the setting of this novel, is a “Special Period,” according to Fidel Castro. The Soviet Union, which has supported the island for years, has collapsed, and the country is starving. Gasoline is scarce, there are constant blackouts, meat and cheese have disappeared, and people have given up smoking so that they can go on eating. When they are lucky enough to find coffee, they dry and reuse the grounds four or five times. Still, there are principled young people like Dr. Manolo Rodriguez who believe in the Revolution and dedicate their lives to helping the poor. Though he has been offered a job which would pay him more money and provide him with some “perks,” he prefers to stay at the clinic he has set up for the poor in the basement of the building where he lives in a one-room attic apartment. Though the novel is gritty, it is no political screed. Arellano has chosen instead to provide a thoughtful look at a dark period, emphasizing the resilience of the Cuban people and their hopes for a better future.

Read Full Post »

In 1950, when Ricardo Somocurcio first meets Lily, a “Chilean” exotic who has recently joined the teenage social scene in Lima, Peru, he is fifteen, sure of only one thing—that she is the most bewitching creature he has ever known. His young infatuation eventually develops into a lifelong obsession, and his story of how Lily dominates all aspects of his romantic life for more than forty years shows both the mysterious power of unconditional love and the peril of misplaced devotion. From Lima to Paris, London, and Madrid, the story of the “bad girl” and the “good boy” unfolds, exploring all aspects of love and betrayal within the changing settings and political climates of the various countries in which the two have commitments. Whether it be in revolutionary Cuba, in Peru with the Tupac Amaru guerilla movement, or in France with the revolutionary movement which brought about the downfall of Charles DeGaulle, the two show that love, politics, and violence exist side by side.

Read Full Post »

Gleefully combining the raucous humor of absurdity with slyly subtle wordplay and caustic satire, Greene entertains on every level, poking fun at British intelligence-gathering services during the Cold War. Setting the novel in the flamboyant atmosphere of pre-revolutionary Havana, where virtually anything can be had at a price, Greene establishes his contrasts and ironies early, creating a hilarious set piece which satirizes both the British government’s never-satisfied desire for secrets about foreign political movements and their belief that the most banal of activities constitute threats to national security. Ex-patriate James Wormold is a mild-mannered, marginal businessman and vacuum cleaner salesman, whose spoiled teenage daughter sees herself as part of the equestrian and country club set. Approached by MI6 in a public restroom, Wormold finds himself unwillingly recruited to be “our man in Havana,” a role which will reward him handsomely for information and allow him some much-needed financial breathing room. (To see the full review, click on the title of this excerpt.)

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts