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Singing from the Well

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  • Posted April 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Unfortunately, Arenas combines several genres to tell his story: poetry, prose, theater, most of the time being repetitious or just not making sense.

    Singing from the Well by Reinaldo Arenas

    First book in Arenas' "secret history of Cuba," a quintet he called the "Patagonia, Singing from the Well."

    An autobiographical recount on his youth, his mother talks piously of the Heaven that awaits the good, while disciplining him with an ox prod. His grandmother burns his treasured crosses for kindling. His cousins meet to plt his grandfather's death.

    However, in the hills surrounding his home, another reality exists, a place where his mother wears flowers in her head, and his cousin, Celestino, a poet who inscribe verses on tree trunks, shares his visions.

    A stunning depiction of a childhood besieged by horror, a world of barbarity, persecution and ignorance--and how a child's imagination creates a moving defense of liberty and shields himself from the horrors of growing up through his imagination.

    Unfortunately, Arenas combines several genres to tell his story: poetry, prose, theater, most of the time being repetitious or just not making sense. This makes it hard to follow, as Arenas creates a vision of his Cuba.

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