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Publisher's Summary

Inspired by 50 years of Cuban literary noir, from Cold Tales by Virgilio Piera to Reinaldo Arenas' Before Night Falls, Robert Arellano's Havana Lunar intertwines an insider testimony on the collapse of socialist Cuba with a psychological mystery.

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.

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  • Janis
  • Hamilton, ON, Canada
  • 02-08-12

Gripping Dark Allegory

What did you love best about Havana Lunar?

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.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

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.

Which character – as performed by Jonathan Davis – was your favorite?

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.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

I loved this audio

If you could sum up Havana Lunar in three words, what would they be?

it falls into the noir category of literature

What did you like best about this story?

it told the story of life in cuba, at the same time as delivering a most intriguing mystery.

What about Jonathan Davis’s performance did you like?

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. <br />His understated way of telling the story was masterful. I would like to listen to similar things from him.

Was there a moment in the book that particular moved you?

when I realized that my preconceptions of how the story was progressing were wrong.

Any additional comments?

let me know when there others like this.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Maggie
  • APEX, NC, United States
  • 01-19-13

Jonathan Davis renders it enjoyable

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

insight into Castro's Cuba

Is there anything you would change about this book?

more about the break-up. more about the split family in Havana and the father in Miami -- seemed off stage

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

too predictible and quick

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

yes-- just to see the old American cars.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Lyn
  • United States
  • 04-24-12

Passion and danger in Castro's Cuba.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Brutal and romantic don't often appear in the same sentence describing a very unexpected storyline. Here they do. Hauntingly worth the experience.

What did you like best about this story?

The complexities in personalities and relationships was compelling, occasionally overwhelming.

Have you listened to any of Jonathan Davis’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Such vivid imagery carried me emotionally throughout...such yearning, despair, disgust, loyality is reminicent of Carson McCullers, Graham Greene.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful