Before Night Falls: A Memoir

Product Details
$18.00  $16.74
Penguin Books
Publish Date
5.09 X 7.76 X 0.7 inches | 0.52 pounds

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About the Author
Reinaldo Arenas was born in Cuba in 1943. In the 1970s, he was imprisoned multiple times for being gay, which clashed with the beliefs of the Communist regime. Despite the hardships imposed during his imprisonment, Arenas produced a significant body of work, including his Pentagonia, a set of five novels written between the 1960s and 1980s that comprise a "secret history" of post-revolutionary Cuba: Singing from the Well, Farewell to the Sea, Palace of the White Skunks, Color of Summer, and The Assault. In 1980, he was one of 120,000 Cubans who arrived in the United States on the Mariel boatlift. Arenas, ill with AIDS, committed suicide in 1990 shortly after completing Before Night Falls.
"Dolores Koch's translation is a great achievement. She is not only accurate and faithful to the original but she even captures Arenas's flashes of lyricism and melancholy...Reading Arenas is like witnessing a bare consciousness in the process of assimilating the most universal, but powerful, human experiences and turning them into literature. Because of this, "Before Night Falls" is crucial to understanding his works. But, more important, it is a record of human cruelty and the toils of one individual to survive them." -- The New York Times

"One of the most shattering testimonials ever written on the subject of oppression and defiance"-- Mario Vargas Llosa

"Any attempt to reckon with Cuba's torturous twentieth century will have to take into account Arenas's monumental work ... an essential human testimony, joyful and enraged, a triumph of conscience." -- Garth Greenwell

"A document of a particular and disturbing honesty by one of the truly great writers to come out of Latin America." ― Chicago Tribune

"One of the most searing satirical writers of the 20th century, a worthy successor to Aristophanes and Swift." -- Jaime Manrique Village Voice

"In this powerful memoir of passions both personal and political, Cuban author Arenas describes his voyage from peasant poverty to his oppression as a dissident writer and homosexual." -- Publishers Weekly

"A last testament that resonates with passion for the freedom of the human spirit and for the author's beloved Cuba: a distinguished addition to the literature of dissent and exile." -- Kirkus Reviews