Cold Tales

Virgilio Pinera, Author, Virgilio Piinera, Author Eridanos Press $15 (282p) ISBN 978-0-941419-19-2
Laws of gravity are abrogated in this short fiction by a Cuban litterateur. Men swim on dry land, death does not relieve the insomniac of sleeplessness, parents become the children of their children. ``Cold'' with the frigidity of a hell in which ``one freezes over a low flame,'' most of these 40-odd tales are no longer than two pages, taut evocations of the surreal. The most successful, however, develop slowly and abundantly as political commentary. A landlady commands the uninterrupted attention of her impoverished boarders as she spends a full eight months describing a photograph taken at her wedding: ``The happiness of those people was absolute, and not even the most categorical social restitution would have satisfied them as much as the lady's descriptions.'' A civilian, observing his president's metamorphosis into the ``dummy'' of his official persona, arranges for a rubber dummy to stand in for the leader with unforeseeable success. The late Pinera calibrates the macabre with a confidence and wit reminiscent of Dino Buzzati; his highly original figurations of the absurd should invite interest in this first English publication of his stories. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1988
Release date: 10/01/1988
Hardcover - 282 pages - 978-0-941419-18-5
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