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Surprisingly very good It s main message is freedom Freedom from repressive Cuban regime of Fulgencio Batista and thedetestable one of Fidel Castro Freedom from the sexual discrimination against gays in the Communist Cuba and this explains the picture that Reinaldo Arenas 1943 1990 that homosexuality in Cuba was rampant The book is full of explicit sex scenes not only of homosexuality but bestiality I suspect that that was intentional in a way that Marquis de Sade 1740 1819 portr Surprisingly very good It s main message is freedom Freedom from repressive Cuban regime of Fulgencio Batista and thedetestable one of Fidel Castro Freedom from the sexual discrimination against gays in the Communist Cuba and this explains the picture that Reinaldo Arenas 1943 1990 that homosexuality in Cuba was rampant The book is full of explicit sex scenes not only of homosexuality but bestiality I suspect that that was intentional in a way that Marquis de Sade 1740 1819 portrayed sex, sadism, murder in his libertine novel The 120 Days of Sodom as a protest against the French government prior to the French Revolution 1789 1799 He wanted to picture Cuba in the mind of the reader as full of homosexuals because homosexual acts were prohibited in Cuba.This biography or memoir is part of the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die so I bought this from.com almost 3 years ago I have been postponing my reading of this book because I thought it would be hard to read considering that Arenas was not an English native speaker writer However, I was surprised to find that that book was well written and his thoughts were organized and his plot was engaging There are just too many not only of sex scenes but poverty and oppression At first I thought that there was an irony how come there is oppression if sodomy can be seen at every corner of Cuban streets and that most male characters, even his relatives, are gay 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 Too much poverty his irresponsible father left his mother and so the young gay Arenas continued to look for a man to love and so he had so many male lovers as he felt that he was doing the search for his mom.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 1917 1989 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 1001 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 Awesome This was a different book, to say the least Initially I was put off by the rampant impersonal sex the author describes constantly with literally hundreds of young men I quit reading about a quarter of the way through but when I picked it back up, I was captivated This is the story of a wild, unbridled, rebel soul I learned so much about life in Cuba under 2 dictators, but mostly Castro I have never read Arenas s fiction but he was a well known writer who suffered hugely in Cuba He writ This was a different book, to say the least Initially I was put off by the rampant impersonal sex the author describes constantly with literally hundreds of young men I quit reading about a quarter of the way through but when I picked it back up, I was captivated This is the story of a wild, unbridled, rebel soul I learned so much about life in Cuba under 2 dictators, but mostly Castro I have never read Arenas s fiction but he was a well known writer who suffered hugely in Cuba He writes freely and vividly of the nightmare he endured trying to escape Yet when he finally does he lands in the U.S and feels lost and alone So I learned a lot, also, about what refugees endure when they leave a home they never really wanted to leave I googled the author about 3 4 of the way through this book so was prepared for the ending but I still sobbed I love Arenas s spirit and wildness and perseverance and bravery I loved this book he lived a life whose beginning and end were indeed the same from the start, one long, sustained sexual act says Guillermo Cabrera about Arenas life And man oh man, he wasn t kidding There is so much sex in this book It makes me think that everyone in Cuba is a sexhound waiting to pounce on each other, only restrained by social s and or the repressive government and its forced status quo there is so much sex, it s funny In his childhood he s having sex with all these animals ahe lived a life whose beginning and end were indeed the same from the start, one long, sustained sexual act says Guillermo Cabrera about Arenas life And man oh man, he wasn t kidding There is so much sex in this book It makes me think that everyone in Cuba is a sexhound waiting to pounce on each other, only restrained by social s and or the repressive government and its forced status quo there is so much sex, it s funny 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 he s a sexual provocateur, and this statement is evenalive within the context of his run ins with the government one of the most interesting parts of this book, i d say, is how he denies sexual encounters in prison The house of sexual implosion, rape city Homosexuals were faced with a supremely masculine culturalthat 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 he describes the terrors of not only being a political dissident in prison, but being a HOMOSEXUAL political prisoner which is like being on fire as you crash into a flaming wall 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 systemthe difference between the communist and the capitalist system is that, although both give you a kick in the ass, in the communist system you have to applaud, while in the capitalist system you can scream And i came to the US to screamI think my biggest problem with the realities Arenas found in communism were the subversive actions of his supposed friends within a system that is supposed to be cooperative 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 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 so attached, that he came to the US just gushing with scathing denouncements for the people who betrayed him hmm, maybe that s a bit hypocritical as well Only human though 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 saidthe exile is a person who, having lost a loved one, keeps searching for the face he loves in every new face and, forever deceiving himself, thinks he has found itIn a sense, this book is really sad, but i think it also offers up a very hopeful image of the human figure 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 oneTry to understand that he may be talking about a littlethan the muttering schizophrenic haunting his dilapidated apartment complex before he moved out of Cubai have never understood madness too well, but feel that in a way insane people are angels who, unable to bear the realities around them, must somehow take refuge in another world 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 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 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 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 not at the level of some other great writers who have either died in oblivion or been ignored.Sounds harsh Not when you consider that Marquez cheered Castro s repressive homophobic policies and criticised remorselessly the so called traitors who wished to leave Cuba at the height of their repression by rights Arenas should be farvenomous And 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 I 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 Isn t that the point of literature communication As to that outrageous sexual behaviour, I don t buy the line that it s exagerrated I mean, maybe It s just possible Arenas saw the chance of mocking the would be guardians of Cuban morality by painting the place as a homosexual free for all, but even if so I applaud him for it F king Che Guevara posters what are they if not homoerotic anyway Besides, every time I see that guy I hear Alan Vega Che Che he s wearin a red star he s smokin a cigar and when he died the whole world lied said he was a saint but I know he ain t Self important middle class so called artists poncing around talking about revolution, read this book Sure, Castro stuck it to the powers that be in the United States, and maybe that s a good thing, but if you can t allow your citizens their fundamental rights then your revolution, no matter what its intent, has failed As Arenas says, there s repression in both Cuba and the States, but in Cuba you must remain silent about it, whereas in the States you can scream Remarkably, this book is not a scream, though at times it s bloodcurdling And in some way though Arenas himself convincingly denies it it s a story of heroism, the simple heroism of a man who must write, who can write only for himself, and who keeps writing no matter what they throw at him My kind of hero Reinaldo Arenas, Before Night Falls Penguin, 1993 Arenas memoir of life in Cuba has recently been made into one of the finest films extant by Julian Schnabel Schnabel did an excellent job with the book while his interpretation of the text was loose in places, he managed to capture in images the style of Arenas writing.In other words, if you saw the movie before reading the book, you re going to be somewhat surprised Some of Schnabel smemorable scenes are mentioned in passing if at a Reinaldo Arenas, Before Night Falls Penguin, 1993 Arenas memoir of life in Cuba has recently been made into one of the finest films extant by Julian Schnabel Schnabel did an excellent job with the book while his interpretation of the text was loose in places, he managed to capture in images the style of Arenas writing.In other words, if you saw the movie before reading the book, you re going to be somewhat surprised Some of Schnabel smemorable scenes are mentioned in passing if at all in the book, and one of the film s central sequences, the balloon escape, gets one sentence Where Arenas and Schnabel intersect is in the lushness, the ability to find celebration and remarkable beauty inside the ugliness of the Castro regime and, for a few years worth, the Batista regime before it.Arenas memoir is also likely to shockthan a few in its sexual explicitness another aspect Schnabel rather shied away from, which I found a tad surprising while reading the book , but so be it There is nothing gratuitous about either Arenas promiscuity or his literary descriptions of it it s no different than using the language of excess to describe the beastliness of a life that involves hand to mouth poverty and political censure And throughout,than anything and perhaps this is what makes the book so powerful , Before Night Falls is a celebration, both of Arenas life and the lives of many other Cuban writers persecuted as dissidents in the latter half of the twentieth century 1 2 Shocking book, perfectly written It kept me up nights I don t know what to think, whose side to take as the author, refugee from Cuba to NY, terminally ill with AIDS, narrates his life right before chosing to end it, and this life is basically Gay suppresion vs Castro s Cuba I have an unconditional love for both gay fighters and for Castro, whom R Arenas considers the Devil himself and the cause of all his troubles Nevertheless, the book gave me enormous pleasure and subjects to think upon Shocking book, perfectly written It kept me up nights I don t know what to think, whose side to take as the author, refugee from Cuba to NY, terminally ill with AIDS, narrates his life right before chosing to end it, and this life is basically Gay suppresion vs Castro s Cuba I have an unconditional love for both gay fighters and for Castro, whom R Arenas considers the Devil himself and the cause of all his troubles Nevertheless, the book gave me enormous pleasure and subjects to think upon, without having to take sides.I read it in Greek .Free ♱ Before Night Falls ♃ 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 Ai uitat să râzi his adolescence as a rebel fighting for Fidel Castro Der rätselhafte Adventskalender: 24 Weihnachtsgeschichten zum Knobeln 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 One of the most poignant and heartbreaking LGBT memoirs ever written In sparse and direct prose, Arena tells us of his life growing up in rural Cuba, his discoveries of his sexuality first with his experience with a prostitute, and then with his fellow students and friends , and then moves us into Castro Cuba It s a book full of viciousness and truth The sentences devour you whole, only to spit you out, at least if you ve been through similar experiences, and have lived to tell the tale It One of the most poignant and heartbreaking LGBT memoirs ever written In sparse and direct prose, Arena tells us of his life growing up in rural Cuba, his discoveries of his sexuality first with his experience with a prostitute, and then with his fellow students and friends , and then moves us into Castro Cuba It s a book full of viciousness and truth The sentences devour you whole, only to spit you out, at least if you ve been through similar experiences, and have lived to tell the tale It s the type of book that is educational for anyone who hasn t had to fight to be themselves, and for anyone who has, it s the type of book that you wish you had written yourself I read this book almost a decade ago and still remember it I hope that Arenas critical reputation continues to grow and improve, along with the passing years Absolutely stunningly brilliant, candid memoir Arenas does an immaculate job, as he would describe it, of screaming against the systems of control in this case, the so called communism but really dystopian dictatorship of castro s cuba which doggedly plagued the author throughout his life his scream is one of joy, and that joy often abounds from two distinct but sometimes overlapping subjects sexualityexplicitly, a hungry homoerotic sexuality and the sea these aspects provide the b Absolutely stunningly brilliant, candid memoir Arenas does an immaculate job, as he would describe it, of screaming against the systems of control in this case, the so called communism but really dystopian dictatorship of castro s cuba which doggedly plagued the author throughout his life his scream is one of joy, and that joy often abounds from two distinct but sometimes overlapping subjects sexualityexplicitly, a hungry homoerotic sexuality and the sea these aspects provide the book with its blunt poetic justice and sensibility the other over arching theme is his resistance to the brutal tyranny he was subject too under castro somewhat due but not limited to being because of his homosexuality totally scathing yet often in the same breathe utterly exuberant also, the book just oozes sex, which i found great entertainment but also touching, relatable and well articulated a total heartbreaker of a book but also a testament to what often gets dubbed the human spirit but isaccurately a total stand against oppression and systems of control The truth that stems from this book is beautiful Quite possibly my favorite writer at the moment Each description is original in thought and placed on paper with no insecurities resting behind his hand Beautiful, original, honesta human being that was able to turn his own tragedy and life s struggle into a poetic memoir that should greet the eyes of anyone that considers themselves a true fan of great literature This book will scare the shit out of you and make you think about Cuba and it The truth that stems from this book is beautiful Quite possibly my favorite writer at the moment Each description is original in thought and placed on paper with no insecurities resting behind his hand Beautiful, original, honesta human being that was able to turn his own tragedy and life s struggle into a poetic memoir that should greet the eyes of anyone that considers themselves a true fan of great literature This book will scare the shit out of you and make you think about Cuba and its people in an entirely new way