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Before night falls
Arenas, Reinaldo
Adult Nonfiction PQ7390.A72Z46313 1993

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In this powerful memoir of passions both personal and political, Cuban author Arenas ( Hallucinations ) describes his voyage from peasant poverty to his oppression as a dissident writer and homosexual. His voracious sexuality pervades the book (numerous encounters are described), and Arenas suggests that the gay worldis instinctually non-monogamous, though he was celibate in the ``monstrosity'' of prison. The young Arenas, in the early days of Fidel Castro's revolution, gained his literary education working at the National Library; he then joined a fervent literary cricle. The Castro regime, however, banned his first novel, The Ill-Fated Peregrinations of Fray Servando , and Arenas had to evade security police to smuggle manuscripts abroad for publication. Protesting Castro's support of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, Arenas suffered forced labor in the sugarcane fields, spent more than two years in prison after being prosecuted as a homosexual counterrevolutionary and managed to gain exile along with many other gays during the 1980 Mariel boatlift. Having appended a fierce denunciation to this book of those seeking dialogue with Castro, the 47-year-old Arenas, who was suffering from AIDS, committed suicide in New York City in 1990. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

This celebrated Cuban writer ( The Doorman , LJ 5/15/91; Singing from the Well , LJ 7/87), a victim of AIDS, committed suicide in New York in 1990. His autobiographical memoir is a fascinating and frightening tale of growing up extremely poor in rural Cuba, of varied personal and political relationships, of rebelliousness, homosexuality, suppression, and persecution. In the picaresque tradition, the narrative is earthy and at times raw; the frequent sexual escapades are presumably true accounts. The description of life in Havana's El Morro prison makes the skin crawl. As an author who was not only antiregime but also gay, Arenas was compelled to smuggle his work abroad for publication. More than a personal story, this memoir is an insightful analysis of the idiosyncrasies of an authoritarian regime. Recommended for literature collections.-- Charles E. Perry, East Central Univ., Ada, Okla. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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