cover image The Death of Fidel Pérez

The Death of Fidel Pérez

Elizabeth Huergo. Unbridled (, $25 (288p) ISBN 978-1-60953-095-2

Havana-born first-time novelist Huergo’s clever political satire uses an intriguing premise to depict what could happen to her native country if Fidel and Raúl Castro suddenly died. On July 26, 2003, the drunken and heartbroken thief Fidel Pérez tumbles from the upstairs balcony of his younger brother Rafael’s flat in Havana. While attempting to rescue Fidel, Rafael also slips, and both brothers plunge to their deaths. The excited bystanders shout “Fidel and his brother have fallen,” giving rise to a quickly spreading rumor. Homeless bag lady Saturnina Diaz seizes on the rallying cry as she envisions her son Tomás, a university student killed during the 1959 revolution, returning to life. Also swept up in the furor are elderly history professor Pedro Valle and his student, 27-year-old taxi driver Camilo Santos. As the new dissident movement picks up steam, readers glimpse the past history of bloody Cuban revolutions in Pedro’s ruminations and dialogues with the ghost of his friend Mario, with whom he was tortured by the government. The revolution to oust the old-guard Castro regime imagined in Huergo’s intricate novel might be foretelling Cuba’s future. Agent: Katie Grimm, Don Congdon Associates. (Apr.)