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Before Night Falls by Reinaldo Arenas. Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas describes his poverty-stricken childhood in rural, his adolescence as a rebel fighting for Fidel Castro, and his life in revolutionary Cuba as a homosexual. Very quickly the Castro government suppressed his writing and persecuted him for his homosexuality until he was finally imprisoned. Hardcoverpages. Published June 15th by Serpents Tail first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
To ask other readers questions about Before Night Fallsplease sign up. I am a little more that anfes through this book, which I have found to be both fascinating and disturbing. However, the more I read the more I become skeptical as to the factual nature of much of what is being written. This skepticism is now putting the entire work in doubt. Has librk book ever received scrutiny from those who might know how true it is?
Dan Burk I never felt the accounts in this book were false.
Before Night Falls by Reinaldo Arenas
While I am sure any writer puts in some embellishments it is certainly not out of the question that …more I never felt the accounts in this book were false. While I am sure any writer puts in some embellishments it is certainly not out of the question that these things happened. There are crazy things in this world that happen and we as Americans, in this day and age, have been fortunate to avoid.
I am curious as to what you read that made you feel so skeptical. See 1 question about Before Night Falls…. Lists with This Book. Aug 03, Fabian rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Aspiring writers who don’t understand how good they have it.
This voice was not extinguished, however. He’s proud of himself, never apologizes. His nemesis is not himself most writers are so full of inner demons- Arenas is a rock of certainty and is so self-aware but Castro.
It is sad that after all this, the Plague in NYC finally claims this intelligent, articulate and overly creative man. It seems that all good things come to an end, but that is no reason to dismiss everything that exists in between.
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Aug 09, K. Absolutely rated it really liked it Shelves: It’s main reinalro is freedom. Freedom from repressive Cuban regime of Fulgencio Batista and the more detestable one of Fidel Castro. Freedom from the sexual discrimination against gays in the Communist Cuba and this explains the picture that Reinaldo Arenas The book anted full of explicit sex scenes not only of homosexuality but bestiality.
I suspect that that was intentional in a way that Marquis de Sade portr Surprisingly very good. I suspect that that was intentional in a way that Marquis de Sade portrayed sex, sadism, murder in his libertine novel The Days of Sodom as a protest against the French government prior to the French Revolution He wanted to picture Cuba in the mind of the reader as full of homosexuals because homosexual acts were prohibited in Cuba.
Reijaldo, I was surprised to find that that book antds well-written and his thoughts were organized and his plot was engaging. There antea just too many not only of sex scenes but poverty and oppression. At first I thought that there was an irony: Then I remembered De Sade and his libertine novels. His boyhood in the rural town in Oriente and his young man’s dreams while living in Holquin also in Cuba were painful to read.
Prior to this book, my knowledge of Cuban politics was limited to the news I used to see on television and that part of Che Guevara’s life story in Jon Lee Anderson’s Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life 4 stars. However, this kind of oppressive regime is not new for Filipinos like me who was already a grown up and politically aware during the time of Ferdinand Marcos as our dictator president for 21 years.
Because of the irony I felt regarding the picture of homosexuality in Arenas’ Cuba, I am not sure if I got the true picture of the country during Castro’s regime. However, real or unreal, I did enjoy reading Arenas’ prose that I was able to finish this book despite the six other books that competed with my attention for the last two weeks.
I just could not put down this book in favor of let’s say Beckett o Lourd de Veyra. My first time to read a Cuban writer and he was gay and he was too good that I did not care even a bit.
I should read the books of the other Cuban novelists next: Alejo Carpentier and Pedro Juan Gutierrez. I did not know that there are these talented novelists who were born in Cuba.
View all 8 comments. And man oh man, he wasn’t kidding. There is so much sex in this book! In his childhood he’s having sex with rienaldo these animals a ” In his childhood he’s having sex with all these animals and these incidents end up in invariably faux pas hijinx when he talks about how his cousin or someone accidentally kills a chicken, and a whole bunch of his friends fuck a goat. Man, that’s some crazy sex.
Also, throughout the book, characters are constantly popping boners, everyone’s outward feelings and aggressions, transgressions and character mannerisms are somehow translated back to their sexuality.
I liked this book, a whole fucking lot. But man, it’s crazier about sex than Benny Hill. I read it a while ago. I think he fucked a dog too, i can’t remember.
But hey, you shouldn’t get shelved on the idea of this guy as a bestial terrorist, it’s nothing like that. The house of sexual implosion, rape city. Homosexuals were faced with a supremely masculine cultural more that was pressured to impress machoism and repress all aspects of feminine decor in men any country where beards are the jount are probably all about macho camraderie; is that fair to say?
So this section of a memoir completely devoted to the sexual apotheosis of the otherwise shelved sensual world is suddenly reversed when he has to bite his lip, hide his boner and try to avoid the sexual deviancy taking over in a prison that is a microcosm of the worst politics Cuba has to offer devoting its utmost energies to a fascist reversion of the homosexual contra that the system seems to be so convinced thereof.
Like i said, i liked this book a lot. Although it sure did shine a pretty harsh light on the communist system, which i guess i had a lot of reserved hope for. HERE, let me offer you up a pretty quote detailing the pitfalls of the system: And i came [to the US] to scream. I guess an honest thing this book projects is the lack of hope for ideal structures in government and in life, and how the system never owned up to its own failings.
It merely reported a life that was not happening. This book turned me against the likes of Gabriel Marcia Marquez and loads of Cuban poets who Arenas describes with scorn on account of their backstabbing too many poets who were not for or critical of the communist system. I realized it is not fair to abash certain talented writers ad hominem for the sake of one poet’s opinion of their character, but he paints a pretty grim light on certain figureheads with their backstabbing. Oh well, it’s his memoir, he can hate who he wants.
Before Night Falls
Besides, he went through tons of shit trying to identify himself in a country which he loved but which tried to damn him because of what they projected as a threatening liberal attitude. It makes sense that his character was so repressed in the country of which he was qque attached, that he came to the US just gushing with scathing denouncements for the people who betrayed him.
In all, this book is a detached centrifuge, an image from his deathbed of the Cuba he knew represented himself and was as much a part of him as it wasn’t represented in the regime which tried to quash his sensual enlightenment. This book was his swan song that he had to deliver to the people and the place from a distance, and i suppose he was very bitter because of it, as he said “the exile is a person who, having lost a loved one, keeps searching for the face agenas loves in every new face and, forever deceiving himself, thinks he has found it.
This one guy, a faggot writer with no sense better than any reasonably intelligent individual managed to stand up to a system which he just simply did not agree with, and while his death came before the regime’s end, so that his stand in effect lost to the test of time, he still was able to project the poetry of his feat, the journey in a brilliant novel filled with immaculate sensations and the energy of a sexual hunger, the likes of which can only be compared to an overdrive of primitive necessity and fascinating devotion to the maddening human drive for affection and inspiration and need.
To leave on a quote, i like this one Try to understand that he may be talking about a little more than the muttering schizophrenic haunting his dilapidated apartment complex before he moved out of Cuba: I don’t know if this is ‘literature’ – and I certainly didn’t read it as if it was skipping around and skimming sections as I do with rock biographies – but it feels true to me.
And Reinaldo Arenas writes about literature as one who loves it above all – certainly above politics. Not for him any alignment with ‘Left’ or ‘Right’, and I agree completely, when the so-called Left can behave as the leaders of Cuba did during the period that Arenas writes about here. Not only that, but when supporter I don’t know if this is ‘literature’ – and I certainly didn’t read it as if it was skipping around and skimming sections as I do with rock biographies – but it feels true to me.
Not only that, but when supporters of Castro and the Left worldwide also participate in this repression. One of the most notorious examples of intellectual injustice in this century is Jorge Luis Borges, who was systematically denied the Nobel Prize simply because of his political views.
Antes Que Anochezca = Before Night Falls
Borges is one of the most important Latin American writers of this century, perhaps the most important one; however, the Nobel Prize was given to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the pastiche of Faulkner, personal friend of Castro’s, and born opportunist.
His work, although not without merit, is permeated with cheap populism, and is reinwldo at the level of some other great writers who have either died in oblivion or been ignored. Adenas he’s right – the Nobel Prize is so often political, and so often prejudiced toward the Left. And Marquez is not a patch on Borges. Me, I think the whole point of literature is that it’s beyond such concerns, and Aremas think it’s beautiful that Arenas could find such joy in reading aloud, with his friends, the poems of a man Borges who possibly could not have abided the sexually-outrageous behaviour of these admirers.