The Great Americanby Alex Abella
From the widely lauded author of The Killing of the Saints comes a sweeping novel of a man's search for love and redemption in the maelstrom of revolutionary Cuba. Energized by the ardor of his revolutionary lover, an ex-Marine joins the cause of those seeking to free Cuba's from Batista's tyranny.
It's 1957, and William Morgan, an AWOL marine, has arrived in Havana just days after a failed attack on the life of the corrupt President Batista. William is inadvertently sucked into the pervasive political chaos when he kills one of a gang of men beating up a prostitute. The dead man turns out to be a police sergeant, and William, on the run, accepts the help of the mysterious Max Weinberg, who may or may not be working for the CIA. He also falls madly in love with a young revolutionary named Laura, who convinces him that he must kill Batista. And so, at a black-tie affair at the Havana Yacht Club, he aims at the president, but, of all the rotten luck, young Senator Kennedy's head gets in the way "as though prefiguring the fate that will befall him." Laura is killed in the aftermath, but William escapes, casting his lot with the rebels. Believing that he has to atone for his failure and for Laura's death, he leads small bands of rebels in guerrilla warfare, rubs shoulders with Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, and meets Irma, a young Christian missionary from California. William, who distrusts Castro, rationalizes that he is fighting against Batista, rather than for Castro, but his personal beliefs are soon overwhelmed by Castro and his supporters, who transform William into a symbol of the revolution. Then he discovers that Castro and Laura have had a fling, that Laura may not be dead, and that he is caught between warring conspiracies.
A contrived hero and a myopic view of an otherwise interesting historical moment add up to an unconvincing thriller.
- Simon & Schuster
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- 1.00(w) x 6.00(h) x 9.00(d)
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