Describe your latest project.
Norton has just published The Autobiography of Fidel Castro, a novel that took seven years of my life to complete as I got inside the skin of Fidel. Perhaps it will take more than that to leave him, because — believe me! — it feels good inside there. The journey started when I decided to write about myself, including my history of leaving Cuba. At that time, I found that I could not write about it without writing about Fidel, and I found that I could not write about Fidel without writing in his voice, and that is how this book came about. The newest project? I'm writing a novel about Africa. It is about a war on the North American continent that, as always, is decided by foreigners. In this case, the Cubans. The Cubans as foreigners.
If someone were to write your biography, what would be the title and subtitle?
Who Killed Norberto Fuentes?: Just a History.
Introduce one other author you think people should read, and suggest a good book with which to start.
William Faulkner: As I Lay Dying.
Ernest Hemingway: Islands in the Stream.
Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
How do you relax?
Listening to Elvis.
Describe the best breakfast of your life.
Strawberries with champagne. (January 8, 1977 @ 7.00 am Moscow time, 22 degrees below zero outside. This was before the take-off of an Aeroflot ILL-62 bound to Berlin.)
What is your idea of absolute happiness?
Once upon a time, a friend of the great French poet Rimbaud told him that he was completely happy, and Rimbaud said, "How can you fall so low?" I do not want to fall so low; thus, I will skip this question.
Fahrenheit, Celsius, or Kelvin?
None of the above.
Recommend five or more books on a single subject of personal interest or expertise.
These occupy a special place in American literature and will endure. Thanks, William Faulkner.
As I Lay Dying
The Sound and the Fury
Light in August
Flags in the Dust (better than Sartoris)