The Cuban Mile

Alejandro Hernandez Diaz, Author, Dick Cluster, Translator Latin American Literary Review Press $15 (120p) ISBN 978-0-935480-94-8
A young Cuban writer faces the end of socialism in a dull reprise of that old chestnut, two men in an open boat at sea. These two are refugees not from a sinking ship but from a sinking state, from which they have purloined the raft, property of the Cuban Air Force. To drive home the allegory, the boat is called The Social Contract. Never one to paint in color when black and white will do, Hernandez Diaz pits the two men against each other as types: one intellectual, the other not; one weak, the other strong; one a thinker, the other a drinker. The artist, in whose voice the story is told, brings a bag of books with him into the life raft as his most precious possession and dreams of making it on the international art circuit. His companion, a sailor named Angel, dreams of what sailors dream of--a splurge in Miami, wads of cash, female attention. The narrative is divided into the seven days of their futile passage across the strait between Cuba and Florida. Considering the brevity of the trip, the judgmental, narcissistic, lily-livered artist proves himself to be remarkably annoying. So does the book. As an allegory, it is heavy-handed, and as a story of men at sea, it is a thrice-told tale. (May)
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
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