Robert Arellano's parents fled Havana in 1960. He has been working on Havana Lunar since 1992 when, as a student in Brown University's graduate writing program, he visited Cuba on a research fellowship. He has returned ten times, chronicling the Revolution in journalism, essay, and song.
©2009 Robert Arellano; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
Robert Allerano has the ability to spin a dark death and resurection allegory while lighting it up with the colour of daily life in Castro's Cuba, showing us our Hero's seedy and decaying socialist Havana and the rich colourful countryside of his family. On top of this he gives us a gripping murder mystery with an allegorical descent into hell - a kind of death and resurrection. For some this could all be quite a strong emotional roller coaster ride.
Allerano has the ability to write a well paced thriller... both on the emotional as well as the level of practical daily events, plot developments... he knows how to develop both levels at the same time... building up and introducing you to even more colour as he spins his story. You get drawn in as you listen. Hints of the superstitions of folk magic with their entrancing spells develop a psychological bind as well.
Mano Rodruigez, the young doctor cought up in this underworld manipulative intrigue is the book's central figure and hero... We experience and feel the story through him and our narator Jonathan Davis does a fine job by telling this story with great empathy. It is through the doctor's eyes and emotions that we experience everyday life in a seedy Havana as well as go back in time to the young doctor's past.
Perhaps some of the most intense moments of this novel are the literal, climactic descents into hell, into the fetid charnel house crypt in Havana's Colon cemetery, of Mano's girlfriend's initiation into the world of Havana's underworld teenage prostitution with its pimps and thugs. It is Mano's own devotion to his jintera girlfriend Julia which takes him directly into an excruciating death and resurection experience in this very same crypt.
All in all, a very welcome experience, both as an emotional thriller, murder mystery and trip to what is still for the most of us, an exotic part of the world.
it falls into the noir category of literature
it told the story of life in cuba, at the same time as delivering a most intriguing mystery.
the narrator was perfect. I loved the way he slipped seamlessly between English and Spanish. Although I am not a Spanish speaker, I understood what he was saying.
His understated way of telling the story was masterful. I would like to listen to similar things from him.
when I realized that my preconceptions of how the story was progressing were wrong.
let me know when there others like this.
The story is alright. Works if you can believe a doctor in his thirties can fall in love with an underage prostitute and risk his life to help smuggle his Lolita out of the Cuba.
I'm a Cubaphile and enjoyed the narrations of the life of the common people. Arellano depictions were easily visualized.
Davis's narration, as always, was excellent.
I feel a little cheated as there were often sentences, important to the plot that were in Spanish. I even tried to enter them in Google Translator, but I couldn't find the translations.
more about the break-up. more about the split family in Havana and the father in Miami -- seemed off stage
too predictible and quick
yes-- just to see the old American cars.
Brutal and romantic don't often appear in the same sentence describing a very unexpected storyline. Here they do. Hauntingly worth the experience.
The complexities in personalities and relationships was compelling, occasionally overwhelming.
Such vivid imagery carried me emotionally throughout...such yearning, despair, disgust, loyality is reminicent of Carson McCullers, Graham Greene.
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