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Before Night Falls: A Memoir

by

Before Night Falls: A Memoir Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The shocking memoir by visionary Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas "is a book above all about being free," said The New York Review of Books — sexually, politically, artistically. Arenas recounts a stunning odyssey from his poverty-stricken childhood in rural Cuba and his adolescence as a rebel fighting for Castro, through his suppression as a writer, imprisonment as a homosexual, his flight from Cuba via the Mariel boat lift, and his subsequent life and the events leading to his death in New York. In what The Miami Herald calls his "deathbed ode to eroticism," Arenas breaks through the code of secrecy and silence that protects the privileged in a state where homosexuality is a political crime. Recorded in simple, straightforward prose, this is the true story of the Kafkaesque life and world re-created in the author's acclaimed novels.

Review:

"[P]oignant and haunting...his standard of liberation was absolute, his innocence made him vulnerable to unending hurt, and the freedom he sought exists nowhere." New York Times Books of the Century

Review:

"[This] is an extraordinary book, extraordinary in its restraint and its dignity, particularly in view of the tribulations that seemed always to dog [Arenas]....The language of the memoir is stark, the sentences short and staccato, with an urgency of forward movement. He is recalling his life, ticking it off in sharp, remembered moments, against the clock, with death waiting at his elbow....Before Night Falls might well have been a long cry of anger, a diatribe, but it is marked much more by its fierce determination to describe his experience honestly and incontrovertibly than by anger or self-pity.... There is a noble and imperturbable dignity about Before Night Falls; it is a book above all about being free." Alastair Reid, The New York Review of Books

Review:

"Dolores Koch's translation is a great achievement. She is not only accurate and faithful to the original but she even captures Arenas' flashes of lyricism and melancholy....Reading Arenas is like witnessing a bare consciousness in the process of assimilating the most universal, but powerful, human experiences and turning them into literature. Because of this, [reading] Before Night Falls is crucial to understanding his works. But, more important, it is a record of human cruelty and the toils of one individual to survive them. Anyone who feels the temptation to be lenient in judging Castro's Government should first read this passionate and beautifully written book." Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"[A] fascinating and frightening tale of growing up extremely poor in rural Cuba, of varied personal and political relationships, of rebelliousness, homosexuality, suppression, and persecution. In the picaresque tradition, the narrative is earthy and at times raw; the frequent sexual escapades are presumably true accounts. The description of life in Havana's El Morro prison makes the skin crawl. As an author who was not only anti-regime but also gay, Arenas was compelled to smuggle his work abroad for publication. More than a personal story, this memoir is an insightful analysis of the idiosyncrasies of an authoritarian regime." Charles E. Perry, Library Journal

Review:

"In this powerful memoir of passions both personal and political, Cuban author Arenas (Hallucinations) describes his voyage from peasant poverty to his oppression as a dissident writer and homosexual." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"[A]n extraordinarily powerful autobiography that's both a poignant personal memoir and a damning political indictment of the Castro regime and its supporters...a distinguished addition to the literature of dissent and exile." Kirkus Reviews

Synopsis:

This shocking personal and political memoir from one of the most visionary writers to emerge from Castro's Cuba recounts Arenas' stunning odyssey — from his poverty-stricken childhood through his suppression as a writer and imprisonment as a homosexual to his flight to America and subsequent life and death in New York. A New York Times Best Book of 1993.

About the Author

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.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The End

The Stones

The Grove

The River

School

The Temple of the Spirits

The Well

Christmas Eve

The Harvest

The Downpour

The Spectacle

Eroticism

Violence

The Morning Fog

The Night, My Grandmother

The Earth

The Sea

Politics

Holguíin

The Rub Pub

Christmas

Rebel

The Revolution

A Student

Havana

Fidel Castro

Hymns

The Fire

Theatrics and the Chicken Farm

Raúl

Good-bye to the Chicken Farm

The Library

The Cuban Book Institute

The Four Categories of Gays

Virgilio Piñra

Lezama Lima

My Generation

A Trip

Eroticism

Jorge and Margarita

Santa Marcia [Saint Queer]

The Abreu Brothers

Super-Stalinism

The Sugar Mill

Olga Andreu

The Padilla "Case"

A Trip to Holguíin

Nelson Rodríguez

The Wedding

The Arrest

The Flight

The Capture

Prison

Villa Marista

Again at El Morro

An "Open" Jail

Out on the Street

The Monserrate Hotel

Good-Bye to Virgilio

Mariel

Key West

Miami

Exile

Witches

Mariel Magazine

Travels

Madness

The Eviction

The Announcement

Dreams

Farewell

Product Details

ISBN:
9780140157659
Author:
Arenas, Reinaldo
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Translator:
Koch, Dolores M.
Author:
Koch, Dolores M.
Location:
New York, N.Y. :
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Biography
Subject:
Caribbean & Latin American
Subject:
20th century
Subject:
Authors
Subject:
Specific Groups - Male Gay Studies
Subject:
Authors, cuban
Subject:
Authors, Cuban -- 20th century -- Biography.
Subject:
Arenas, Reinaldo
Subject:
Authors, Cuban - 20th century
Subject:
Biography - General
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Series Volume:
[bk. 2]
Publication Date:
19941031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
7.76x5.09x.70 in. .52 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects


Biography » General
Biography » Literary
Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Gay and Lesbian » Fiction and Poetry » General

Before Night Falls: A Memoir Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Penguin Books - English 9780140157659 Reviews:
"Review" by , "[P]oignant and haunting...his standard of liberation was absolute, his innocence made him vulnerable to unending hurt, and the freedom he sought exists nowhere."
"Review" by , "[This] is an extraordinary book, extraordinary in its restraint and its dignity, particularly in view of the tribulations that seemed always to dog [Arenas]....The language of the memoir is stark, the sentences short and staccato, with an urgency of forward movement. He is recalling his life, ticking it off in sharp, remembered moments, against the clock, with death waiting at his elbow....Before Night Falls might well have been a long cry of anger, a diatribe, but it is marked much more by its fierce determination to describe his experience honestly and incontrovertibly than by anger or self-pity.... There is a noble and imperturbable dignity about Before Night Falls; it is a book above all about being free."
"Review" by , "Dolores Koch's translation is a great achievement. She is not only accurate and faithful to the original but she even captures Arenas' flashes of lyricism and melancholy....Reading Arenas is like witnessing a bare consciousness in the process of assimilating the most universal, but powerful, human experiences and turning them into literature. Because of this, [reading] Before Night Falls is crucial to understanding his works. But, more important, it is a record of human cruelty and the toils of one individual to survive them. Anyone who feels the temptation to be lenient in judging Castro's Government should first read this passionate and beautifully written book."
"Review" by , "[A] fascinating and frightening tale of growing up extremely poor in rural Cuba, of varied personal and political relationships, of rebelliousness, homosexuality, suppression, and persecution. In the picaresque tradition, the narrative is earthy and at times raw; the frequent sexual escapades are presumably true accounts. The description of life in Havana's El Morro prison makes the skin crawl. As an author who was not only anti-regime but also gay, Arenas was compelled to smuggle his work abroad for publication. More than a personal story, this memoir is an insightful analysis of the idiosyncrasies of an authoritarian regime."
"Review" by , "In this powerful memoir of passions both personal and political, Cuban author Arenas (Hallucinations) describes his voyage from peasant poverty to his oppression as a dissident writer and homosexual."
"Review" by , "[A]n extraordinarily powerful autobiography that's both a poignant personal memoir and a damning political indictment of the Castro regime and its supporters...a distinguished addition to the literature of dissent and exile."
"Synopsis" by , This shocking personal and political memoir from one of the most visionary writers to emerge from Castro's Cuba recounts Arenas' stunning odyssey — from his poverty-stricken childhood through his suppression as a writer and imprisonment as a homosexual to his flight to America and subsequent life and death in New York. A New York Times Best Book of 1993.
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