Doorman

Overview

Arenas’s first work set in the United States breaks new ground with the story of a young Cuban refugee who becomes a doorman at a luxury apartment building. Oddly alienated from the tenants, he is seduced by their pets, who are determined to revolt against humans and human society.

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1994 Paperback New The tragic story of Juan, a young Cuban refugee, who becomes a doorman at a luuxury apartment building in Manhattan.

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Overview

Arenas’s first work set in the United States breaks new ground with the story of a young Cuban refugee who becomes a doorman at a luxury apartment building. Oddly alienated from the tenants, he is seduced by their pets, who are determined to revolt against humans and human society.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Cuban novelist Arenas's (Old Rosa ) exquisitely wrought surreal fantasy is a sardonic Swiftian parable on human cruelty and the impulse to flee from freedom. Juan, a Cuban refugee and overzealous doorman at a Manhattan luxury building, wants to help each tenant open the ``door to true happiness.'' But the tenants resist enlightenment. Among them are an oddball pastor who touches or caresses everyone he meets; the inventor of the neon clothespin and the totally prosthetic body; a miserly retired actress who walks a stuffed dog every evening; two nearly identical gay lovers; and a suicidal woman whose fiance Juan pretends to be. All of the tenants have pets--dogs, cats, a rattlesnake, an orangutang, parrots, turtles, a trained bear, etc.--which mirror their personal foibles. As the animals warily befriend Juan and air their views on the dangerous human species, his conversations with the menagerie get him committed to a mental hospital. A fabulist of elegant invention, Arenas, who died last December, delivers a ferocious indictment of the human race.
Library Journal
A young refugee from Cuba who is the doorman for a New York City luxury apartment feels a calling to show everyone in his building a wider mystical door to true happiness. The residents of Juan's building are all laughable parodies: the Hispanic pastor who preaches salvation through physical brotherly love, the professor of political science who tries with her militant and hypnotic stare to reconvert Juan to the Marxism of his abandoned Cuba. Failing to interest them in his search for the true door, Juan is recruited by the various outlandish pets belonging to the residents in their own plan for liberation. The plural narrating voice debates aloud how to make this unusual story more believable, and although they consider assigning the job to Arenas, they discard the idea because they feel that the author's blatant homosexuality would cloud the objectivity of their message. This imaginative allegory of surreal humans and their surreal pets was written five years before the authors' death from AIDS in 1990.-- Jack Shreve, Allegany Community Coll., Cumberland, Md.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802134059
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/1994
  • Pages: 204
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.17 (h) x 0.60 (d)

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  • Posted March 10, 2009

    A great metaphor!

    A very interesting and stimulating writing style! "The Doorman" is a great metaphor for a society that needs remarkable changes. The "revolution" of animals actually represents an internal need for all humans to change the way their lives go by. The desire to be active participants, and not just spectators in a predefined course of life. The "door" that R.Arenas describes in his book is abstract and real at the same time. It is the salvation and solution to all problems of each human (and not only) being. However, it's not a definite destination, but it's a path towards a goal that each individual should search for and hopefully find during his/her life.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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