Writes of Passage

Guillermo Cabrena Infante, Author, G. Cabrera Infante, Author, John Brookessmith, Translator Faber & Faber $19.95 (148p) ISBN 978-0-571-16956-6
First published in the author's native Cuba in 1960, this collection of 15 early short pieces reflects the exuberance and self-assuredness of a writer just beginning to come into his own. Other than the clumsy attempt at stream-of-consciousness writing, ``Gobegger Foriu Tostay,'' these stories are beautifully constructed and still fresh. The best explore the sensuality of life in pre-Castro Cuba and the tension and mysteriousness of young love. ``Sea, Sea, Enemy Sea'' deals with the hypnotic attraction between a woman and her lover, a former circus performer, thief and entrepreneur. Infante beautifully contrasts the wild and wind-tossed sea with the emotions of the woman as she waits for her lover to return. ``The Doors Open at Three'' and ``Grammar's for the Birds'' explore the heights and disappointments of young lovers' first erotic explorations. The highly sophisticated ``Nest, Door, Neighbours'' describes a brief encounter between a man whose marriage is beginning to sour and a sadistic, sexually tormented American teenager who lives in the apartment next door decorated in ``American Atrocious,'' a style irreducibly different from the narrator's own ``Cuban Kitsch.'' In a chilling autobiographical epilogue, the prolific novelist, essayist and screenwriter describes his arrest and brief imprisonment for publishing a story in a journal deemed seditious. ``None, for sure, went to jail for imitating Hemingway. I did.'' (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
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