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Description - Farewell to the Sea by Reinaldo Arenas

In this brilliant, apocalyptic vision of Castro's Cuba, we meet a young couple who leave the dreariness of Havana and spend six days at a small seaside retreat, where they hope to recapture the desire and carefree spirit that once united them. In a stunning juxtaposition of narrative voices, the wife recounts the grim reality of her marriage, the demands of motherhood, and her loss of freedom, innocence, and hope; while her husband, a disillusioned poet and disenchanted revolutionary, recalls his political struggles and laments the artistic and homosexual freedom that has been denied him. Rich in hallucination, myth and fantasy, Farewell to the Sea is a fierce and unforgettable work that speaks for the entire human condition.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780140066364
ISBN-10: 0140066365
Format: Paperback
(197mm x 128mm x 17mm)
Pages: 432
Imprint: Penguin Books Ltd
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publish Date: 28-Jan-1988
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions - Farewell to the Sea by Reinaldo Arenas

Book Reviews - Farewell to the Sea by Reinaldo Arenas

US Kirkus Review » Arenas, for some years one of Cuba's most important unofficial writers, was cast out finally in the Mariel boat lift in 1980. This book, part of a multisegmented work, provides a sense of the outrage felt by serious Cuban intellectuals (especially those who also are homosexual, doubly pariahs), plus a taste of the still flourishing baroque tradition in Cuban fiction personified by such masters as Lezama-Lima and Cabrera-Infante. The novel is cloven in two. The initial part is a humid, bleak, horror-accumulating monologue, narrated by a young Cuban woman spending a few weeks at a beach cabin with her baby and deeply depressed poet-husband. Disillusion is a condensing fog over everything: "Now that the - shall we say - fundamental problems are solved - house, food, car, salary - we can devote our full efforts to making life intolerable." The husband's political depression, his complete alienation, ultimately plagues the young woman with a no-way-out despair. But the husband isn't merely a poet: he's also homosexual; and the book's second half, which mostly is in verse (the husband's poetry - a difficult translation job handled ably by Andrew Hurley), is at once mythic fantasy, dark satire (a brilliant set piece in which a prancy queen negotiates the streets of the new puritanical Havana), and a litany of sadness and anger. As poetry, it doesn't quite match in intensity the wife's prose section, the oblique mirroring there being more powerfully bleak; and too much of it rains a dandruff of campy literary gesture - yet, together, the two disparate pieces pretty much complement each other. By no means congenial, nor as intriguing finally as the book it most aspires to (Lezama Lima's masterpiece Paradiso), it's a work that still bears powerful witness to the continuing, adventurous elegance of Cuban writing. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Reinaldo Arenas

Reinaldo Arenas was born in Cuba in 1943. In 1980, he was one of 120,000 Cubans who arrived in the United States on the Mariel boatlift. Arenas settled in New York where he lived until his death from AIDS ten years later.Andrew Hurley is a translator of numerous works of literature, criticism, history, and memoir. He is professor emeritus at the University of Puerto Rico.Thomas Colchie is an acclaimed translator, editor, and literary agent for international authors. He is the editor of A Hammock Beneath the Mangoes. He has written for the Village Voice and The Washington Post. His translations include Manuel Puig's Kiss of the Spider Woman and (with Elizabeth Bishop, Gregory Rabassa, and Mark Strand) Carlos Drummond de Andrade's Travelling in the Family.

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