El asalto (The Assault)

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Reinaldo Arenas es uno de los principales escritores cubanos del siglo XX. Nació en Holguín, Cuba, en 1943. De 1974 a 1076 estuvo confinado en la prisión de El Morro, en La Habana. Salió de Cuba, en 1980, por el Puerto de El Mariel con otros 125,000 cubanos que no soportaban el régimen imperante en la Isla. Se radicó en Nueva York. Obtuvo las becas Cintas y Guggenhein, así como el premio al mejor novelista extranjero publicado en Francia en 1969. El viernes 7 de diciembre de 1990 puso fin a su vida. En carta enviada al Director del Diario Las Américas de Miami, Dr. Horacio Aguirre, explicó sus razones. La principal, por su enfermedad, no poder seguir luchando por la libertad de Cuba.

EL ASALTO es la última novela de una pentagonía que comienza con Celestino antes del alba y continúa con El palacio de las blanquísimas mofetas, Otra vez el mar y El color del verano, para muchos su obra más importante. Según el propio autor EL ASALTO es tal vez la novela más cruel y antirretórica escrita en este siglo.

Reinaldo Arenas is one of the leading Cuban writers of the twentieth century. He was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1943. From 1974 to1976 he was incarcerated in the El Morro prison in Havana. He left Cuba in 1980 via the Mariel Boatlift along with125,000 other Cubans who were opposed to the ruling regime in Cuba. He settled in New York where he obtained the Cintas and Guggenheim fellowships, as well as the award for best foreign novelist published in France in 1969. On Friday, December 7, 1990, he ended his life. In a letter sent to the Horacio Aguirre, director of the Spanish newspaper Diario LasAmericas in Miami, he explained his reasons. The main reason was that due to his illness, he was unable to continue fighting for the freedom of Cuba.

EL ASALTO is the last novel in the pentagon that begins with CELESTINO ANTES DEL ALBA and continues with EL PALACIO DE LAS BLANQUISIMAS MOFETAS, OTRA VEZ EL MAR and EL COLOR DEL VERANO, for many it is his most important work. According to the author THE ASSAULT "is perhaps the most cruel and anti-rhetoric novel written in this century."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Set after the ``last big war'' in a society of ``degenerate beasts''--where human beings have snouts and claws and the criminals sport polished shaved heads--this is the final novel in the late Cuban-born Arenas's ``Pentagonia'' quintet ( Singing from the Well ; The Palace of the White Skunks , etc. ), a fictional exploration of Castro-era Cuba. Narrated by an agent for the ``Bureau of Counterwhispering,'' the novel details the agent's mission to find and execute whisperers against the ``Glorious Nation'' and its ``Represident.'' It's a country where ``no one has a name, and all orientations help to make sure that one stranger is exactly like every other stranger, so that no one can remember anybody in particular, and therefore no one can be remembered.'' His motivation, however, is more personal than political: a desire to find and kill his mother because he is ``coming to look more like her every day''--and herein lies the key to Arenas's parable. But this brief and original novel is burdened with much repetition; the thin plot is hindered by the excessive partitioning of the narrative into short chapters. More satire than allegory, the book is also hurt by an abrupt ending. But Arenas does draw a disturbing portrait of the political extremes and superfluous nationalism of a society headed toward a point where ``every person will find joy in betraying every other person, eating every other person, and for that they will even patiently wait their turn.'' (July)
Library Journal
This is the final volume of what the author called his agony in five parts, or pentagony, which begins with Singing in the Well (LJ 7/87). Boatlifted from Cuba in 1980, Arenas settled in New York, where he felt frustrated by America's diehard Castro supporters, contracted AIDS, and committed suicide. Here he takes deadly aim at Cuba's glorious ``represident,'' in whose service the narrator rounds up dissidents and deviants to be juiced for patriotic irrigation. People are nameless insects who aspire to ``disacquaintance'' with their neighbors. The narrator is obsessed by his mother, whom he must annihilate before he assumes her shape, and in the climactic scene he nukes her in a smoky blast of shrapnel and unspeakable substances. Not for traditional readers, this book will delight fans of 1984, Kafka, and magic realism as well as Castro countdowners. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/1/94.]-Jack Shreve, Allegany Community Coll., Cumberland, Md.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780897295963
  • Publisher: Ediciones Universal
  • Publication date: 11/1/2001
  • Series: Pentagonia Series, #5
  • Edition description: Spanish-language Edition Large Print
  • Pages: 158
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.37 (d)

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