El Central. Reinaldo Arenas, Anthony Kerrigan.

El Central. (A Cuban Sugar Mill)

New York: Avon Books, 1984. 1st US Edition. 12mo, publisher's illustrated stiff paper wraps.

Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas’s acclaimed epic prose-poem. Written while serving time at a rural sugar mill under the Castro regime on smuggled pieces of scrap paper, Arenas's hallucinatory portrait not only describes his loss of individual freedom and the inhumane labor practices he was subjected to, but also provides a survey of the cruel and oppressive practices common throughout much of Cuba's history. He fled his home country for New York in 1980, where he was already seen as one of the most significant contemporary Cuban authors, with his books published via smuggled manuscripts. Nevertheless, while Arenas was lauded for his unapologetic queerness, his anti-Castro sentiments were often shunned by leftist intellectuals. He committed sucide by intentional overdose, after which it was revealed by his editor he had been battling AIDS for years. In his suicide note he wrote: "I want to encourage the Cuban people out of the country as well as on the Island to continue fighting for freedom. I do not want to convey to you a message of defeat but of continued struggle and of hope. Cuba will be free. I already am." Translated by Anthony Kerrigan. Originally published in Spanish in 1981, this mass market paperback is the first edition in English. Dutch literary agent's sticker to title-page. Some embrowning to text, light soiling and edgewear to wraps. Very good. Item #3145


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