Singing from the Well
A POWERFUL NOVEL OF GROWING UP IN A WORLD WHERE NIGHTMARE HAS BECOME REALITY, AND FANTASY PROVIDES THE ONLY ESCAPE
His mother talks piously of the heaven that awaits the good, and disciplines him with an ox prod. His grandmother burns his treasured crosses for kindling. His cousins meet to plot their grandfather's death. Yet in the hills surrounding his home, another reality exists, a place where his mother wears flowers in her hair, and his cousin Celestino, a poet who inscribes verse on the trunks of trees, understands his visions.
The first novel in Reinaldo Arenas's "secret history of Cuba", a quintet he called the Pentagonia, Singing from the Well is by turns explosively crude and breathtakingly lyrical. In the end, it is a stunning depiction of childhood besieged by horro -- and a moving defense of liberty and the imagination in a world of barbarity, persecution, and ignorance.
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Review: Singing from the WellUser Review - Ronald Wilcox - Goodreads
Surreal. Tangential. Bizarre. Interesting. Four words that sum up the first book in the Pentagonia. Arena's main character is a little boy from a very poor family who constantly imagines strange things about his family that help him to deal with their abusive behavior. Read full review
Review: Singing from the WellUser Review - Chris Campanioni - Goodreads
I compare Arenas' debut novel (and the first in his Pentagonia) to YA for intellectuals. This is a surreal, fragmented picture of life as a child in Cuba. Read full review