Before Night Falls
Reinaldo Arenas 1992 336p 5 x 8
Written while dying of AIDS in New York City in the late 1980s, this is Arenas’ incredible story, told so movingly and elegantly in all its misery and beauty. Born in impoverished countryside of Cuba, Arenas ran away to join guerrillas at age 15. Shortly after, Castro came to power and Arenas – like many Cubans – enjoyed a brief period of jubilation. Within a few years, though, Arenas found himself in camps (and later prison) for his writing (banded in Cuba for its criticism of Castro) and his homosexuality. Arenas’ story is full of what people will do to fight repression or lengths to which they’ll go to save themselves at the cost of friends and strangers, and ultimately the unstoppableness of sexuality. A must read for supporters of Cuba.