The Doorman

Reinaldo Arenas, Author, Dolores M. Koch, Translator Grove/Atlantic $16.95 (191p) ISBN 978-0-8021-1109-8
Cuban novelist Arenas's ( Old Rosa ) exquisitely wrought surreal fantasy is a sardonic Swiftian parable on human cruelty and the impulse to flee from freedom. Juan, a Cuban refugee and overzealous doorman at a Manhattan luxury building, wants to help each tenant open the ``door to true happiness.'' But the tenants resist enlightenment. Among them are an oddball pastor who touches or caresses everyone he meets; the inventor of the neon clothespin and the totally prosthetic body; a miserly retired actress who walks a stuffed dog every evening; two nearly identical gay lovers; and a suicidal woman whose fiance Juan pretends to be. All of the tenants have pets--dogs, cats, a rattlesnake, an orangutang, parrots, turtles, a trained bear, etc.--which mirror their personal foibles. As the animals warily befriend Juan and air their views on the dangerous human species, his conversations with the menagerie get him committed to a mental hospital. A fabulist of elegant invention, Arenas, who died last December, delivers a ferocious indictment of the human race. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1991
Release date: 06/01/1991
Paperback - 204 pages - 978-0-8021-3405-9
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