Winner of the 2002 Edgar Award
for Best Paperback Original
Synopses & Reviews
The first suspense novel in English-translation by internationally acclaimed Uruguayan mystery writer Daniel Chavarría, Adios Muchachos
is a dark, erotic, brutally funny romp through the sexual underworld and black-market boardrooms of post-Cold War Cuba. Seen through Chavarría's compassionate but uncompromising eyes, present-day Havana is a crossroads for petty hustlers looking for an easy mark, two-time losers looking for a fresh start, and high-rolling international speculators looking to take advantage of them all.
The novel describes the ill-fated alliance between Alicia, a stunningly beautiful prostitute who openly displays her voluptuous wares by bicycle on the city streets, and Victor King, a desperately ambitious Canadian businessman with an enormous appetite for kinky sex and buried treasure and a striking resemblance to movie star Mel Gibson.
Following an early erotic entanglement of their own, Victor hires Alicia to lure a series of handsome lovers into the bedroom of his estate for the voyeuristic gratification of his mysterious wife, Elizabeth, who watches the action with her husband through a two-way mirror. After a sultry drunken dance results in the accidental death of Victor¹s wealthy Dutch business partner, Rieks Groote, Victor sees his ambitions for wealth suddenly go up in smoke and Alicia faces the end to her dreams of escaping her dreary, dead-end life on the island.
Hustlers all the way, the two quickly decide to turn disaster into opportunity, hiding the body in a freezer and hatching an elaborate kidnapping scheme that will allow them to steal millions of dollars from the Groote family and start a new life together off the island. Through a series of startling plot twists and slapstick misadventures, Victor and Alicia find themselves unwittingly manipulated and ultimately outmaneuvered by a sympathetic fellow hustler. In the end, everything revolves around the secret ingredient to an old family recipe and a long-overdue nose job as only one of the novel's characters is able to make off with the loot and bid "adios" to Cuba and the past.
"Fun, fast and intelligent, this devilishly charming import gives pulp fiction a good name....[A] madcap caper....Despite the dark subject matter, the winking delivery provides comic surges as reliably as an amusement park ride....[A]n energetic hustle that will leave readers clamoring for more." Publishers Weekly
"Mixed together, these ingredients make a zesty Cuban paella of a novel that's impossible to put down. This is a great read..." Library Journal
"Out of the mystery wrapped in an enigma that, over the last forty years, has been Cuba for the US, comes a Uruguayan voice so cheerful, a face so laughing, and a mind so deviously optimistic that we can only hope this is but the beginning of a flood of Latin America's indomitable novelists, playwrights, storytellers. Welcome, Daniel Chavarría." Donald E. Westlake, author of Trust Me on This and The Hook
"Daniel Chavarría is a prince of a fellow, larger than life and twice as much fun." Lawrence Block, author of Eight Million Ways to Die
"Pulp fiction in Castro's Cuba. A picaresque novel with sex, scheming, and, well, more sex." Martin Cruz Smith, author of Havana Bay
"If for no other reason than Daniel Chavarría and his picaresque novels of money, sex, and crime in Havana, this U.S. embargo against Cuba must end forthwith. In Adios Muchachos, Señor Chavarría offers up European millionaires grubbing for ever more riches, wily ocean salvers hunting for gold in long-sunken Spanish galleons, and murder most foul and deliciously bloody. For extra measure, there is the considerable charm and ingenuity of an erotic scamp by the name of Alicia. I recommend that we all do as Fidel likely does: light up a cigar and turn Chavarría's pages, with pleasure." Thomas Adcock, Edgar Award-winning author of Grief Street
"Daniel Chavarría has long been recognized as one of Latin America's finest writers. Now he again proves why with Adios Muchachos, a comic mystery peopled by a delightfully mad band of miscreants, all of them led by a woman you will not soon forget Alicia, the loveliest bicycle whore in all Havana." William Heffernan, author of Beulah Hill
Fiction. Latin/Latina Studies. In Havana, Cuba, a beautiful young woman rides a bicycle through the city streets to lure men in to her services. Desperate to escape her dead-end life in a city plagued with scarcity, the luscious bicyclist designs a get-rich-quick scheme with a gorgeous John from Canada. A web of deception is weaved and then disastrously unraveled. Daniel Chavarra has long been recognized as one of Latin America's finest writers. Now he again proves why with ADIOS MUCHACHOS, a comic mystery peopled by a delightfully mad band of miscreants, all of them led by a woman you will not soon forget Alicia, the loveliest bicycle whore in all Havana.
Alicia is a smart, confident and gorgeous prostitute in Havana. She is not a street-walker. Rather, she displays her wares on bicycle, seducing men through the irresistible pull of her fine derrière
. John King, her new client, is a Canadian businessman with a striking resemblance to movie star Alain Delon. This is no ordinary John” and Alicia's feelings for him grow; she sees in their relationship the possibility of escape from her dead-end life in a Havana plagued with scarcity. When John Kings wealthy and sexually deviant boss is suddenly killed, Alicia and John hatch a get-rich-quick scheme. A web of deception is woven, but just as quickly unraveled disastrously, and only one person is able to say "adiós” to the dilapidated island of Cuba.
Daniel Chavarría was born in Uruguay in 1933. He spent the 1960s involved in several South American liberation struggles. He fled the continent and settled in Havana, Cuba, where he has resided since 1969. From 1975 to 1986, Chavarría worked as a translator of literature into Spanish, and taught Latin, Greek and Classical Literature at the University of Havana. His novels, short stories, literary journalism, and screenplays have reached audiences across Latin America, Europe, and Asia. Chavarría has won numerous literary awards around the world, including a 1992 Dashiell Hammett Award. Adiós Muchachos is his first novel to be translated into English. In 2002, Akashic Books will publish his mystery novel, The Eye of Cybele, set in ancient Greece.
More Cuban noir from Akashic, following the success of Outcast by José Latour.
About the Author
Daniel Chavarría was born in Uruguay in 1933. Chavarría has worked as a translator of literature into Spanish, and has taught Latin, Greek and Classical Literature. His novels, short stories, literary journalism, and screenplays have reached audiences across Latin America and Europe. Chavarría has won numerous literary awards around the world, including a 1992 Dashiell Hammett Award. Adios Muchachos is his first novel to be translated into English. In 2002, Akashic Books will publish his mystery novel, The Eye of Cybele, set in ancient Greece.