My Book World
The more I read of Arenas’s work the more I am charmed by a skilled writer’s use of magical realism. In this instance, Juan, a young Cuban immigrant is hired as doorman by a fairly exclusive residential hotel in New York City. He does his very best to learn the names of all the occupants and their quirks and preferences. He fetches and messages for them. He does his best to learn the names of all their pets as well, a veritable Noah’s Ark from the tiniest to the largest. This odd point is where one begins to sense the leap readers are to make, from reality to magic. The animals begin to speak to Juan in “human language,” and at first that seems fine with Juan. But then the situation evolves into something more complicated (no spoilers). Juan is on a spiritual journey to locate a “door” that will lead him and everyone who wants into a better world. Arenas is skilled in dragging along even the most skeptical of us because he has a larger point to make.
NEXT FRIDAY: My Book World | Rodrigo García's A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes: A Son’s Memoir of Gabriel García Márquez