The author of the brilliant and highly acclaimed memoir, Before Night Falls, Reinaldo Arenas concluded his sequence of five novels - at once a "secret history of Cuba" and a writer's autobiography - with an allegorical satire. In The Assault, he paints a harrowing, yet at times boldly entertaining, Kafkaesque picture of a dehumanized people and the despair of an observer/narrator himself clinging to sanity.
This profane narrative, filled with righteous rage, takes us on a surreal journey through a blackly humorous shadowland where philosophical discussion, homosexuality, and forgetting the words to heroic anthems are comparable crimes - and a cockroach hunt makes a national holiday. With echoes of Rabelais, Swift, Orwell, and the films of Lois Bunuel, The Assault crowns the work of one of the most visionary writers to have emerged from Castro's Cuba, a writer whom Octavio Paz called "remarkable... as much for his intellectual dignity as for his talent."
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This is the final volume of what the author called his agony in five parts, or pentagony, which begins with Singing in the Well (LJ 7/87). Boatlifted from Cuba in 1980, Arenas settled in New York ... Read full review
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