Before Night Falls

I am currently reading the novel “Before Night Falls” by the Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas, which is one of the two books that we can read for this week’s challenges. I am about half-way through the novel and am thoroughly enjoying it. Although I have not finished his autobiography yet, I am getting a sense of what life was like in Cuba during the early years of Castro’s rule as well as the time before that. His writing style is very concise yet descriptive – a balance that is difficult to achieve. In that sense it is quite different from novels that I have read that discuss the theme of living under a dictatorship (such as 1984 or Brave New World), because the writing is much more poetic and vivid. One really gets the feeling that he loves his home very much, and can’t help feeling bitter because he is ostracized from his community for being a “counter-revolutionary” writer as well as a homosexual. I am watching the movie (with Javier Bardem) at the same time, and this helps bring the book to life before my eyes even more. The movie has beautiful visuals, just as the book describes them.

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