My Book World
Think Animal Farm meets Nineteen Eighty-Four. Arenas creates his own biting satire of what life is like for Cubans, homosexuals in particular, in Castro’s Communist Cuba. Rather than recreating this hell realistically (as he does in Before Night Falls), Arenas limns a dystopian animal world in which the narrator—a hardline, hateful, and clawed beast—searches out his mother so that he can kill her.
He also orders that any man (or woman) who dares to stare at an attired male animal’s crotch (even for a microsecond, as if one might discern such a move) will be annihilated. This cruelty is so absurd as to be laughable in a manner it would not be if portrayed realistically. I’m issuing no spoiler alert (oh, I guess this is it): narrator searches and searches for his wicked mother whom he hates with all his might, to no avail. Meantime, for his fine work killing queers, he is awarded one of the highest honors to be bestowed by the Represident. The narrator is shocked to learn that this represident is none other than his mother! He obtains a raging erection which is not allayed until he porks (to put it nicely) his own mother, she explodes into a million bits, and the narrator’s rage is finally released (ew). Ah, now that’s a climax: Killing queers and the Oedipal impulse all in one go.
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