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Surprisingly very good It s main message is freedom Freedom from repressive Cuban regime of Fulgencio Batista and thedetestable one of Fidel Castro Freedom from the sexual discrimination against gays in the Communist Cuba and this explains the picture that Reinaldo Arenas 1943 1990 that homosexuality in Cuba was rampant The book is full of explicit sex scenes not only of homosexuality but bestiality I suspect that that was intentional in a way that Marquis de Sade 1740 1819 portr Surprisingly very good It s main message is freedom Freedom from repressive Cuban regime of Fulgencio Batista and thedetestable one of Fidel Castro Freedom from the sexual discrimination against gays in the Communist Cuba and this explains the picture that Reinaldo Arenas 1943 1990 that homosexuality in Cuba was rampant The book is full of explicit sex scenes not only of homosexuality but bestiality I suspect that that was intentional in a way that Marquis de Sade 1740 1819 portrayed sex, sadism, murder in his libertine novel The 120 Days of Sodom as a protest against the French government prior to the French Revolution 1789 1799 He wanted to picture Cuba in the mind of the reader as full of homosexuals because homosexual acts were prohibited in Cuba.This biography or memoir is part of the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die so I bought this from.com almost 3 years ago I have been postponing my reading of this book because I thought it would be hard to read considering that Arenas was not an English native speaker writer However, I was surprised to find that that book was well written and his thoughts were organized and his plot was engaging There are just too many not only of sex scenes but poverty and oppression At first I thought that there was an irony how come there is oppression if sodomy can be seen at every corner of Cuban streets and that most male characters, even his relatives, are gay Then I remembered De Sade and his libertine novels.His boyhood in the rural town in Oriente and his young man s dreams while living in Holquin also in Cuba were painful to read Too much poverty his irresponsible father left his mother and so the young gay Arenas continued to look for a man to love and so he had so many male lovers as he felt that he was doing the search for his mom.Prior to this book, my knowledge of Cuban politics was limited to the news I used to see on television and that part of Che Guevara s life story in Jon Lee Anderson s Che Guevara A Revolutionary Life 4 stars However, this kind of oppressive regime is not new for Filipinos like me who was already a grown up and politically aware during the time of Ferdinand Marcos 1917 1989 as our dictator president for 21 years.Because of the irony I felt regarding the picture of homosexuality in Arenas Cuba, I am not sure if I got the true picture of the country during Castro s regime However, real or unreal, I did enjoy reading Arenas prose that I was able to finish this book despite the six other books that competed with my attention for the last two weeks I just could not put down this book in favor of let s say Beckett o Lourd de Veyra.My first time to read a Cuban writer and he was gay and he was too good that I did not care even a bit.I should read the 1001 books of the other Cuban novelists next Alejo Carpentier and Pedro Juan Gutierrez I did not know that there are these talented novelists who were born in Cuba Awesome This was a different book, to say the least Initially I was put off by the rampant impersonal sex the author describes constantly with literally hundreds of young men I quit reading about a quarter of the way through but when I picked it back up, I was captivated This is the story of a wild, unbridled, rebel soul I learned so much about life in Cuba under 2 dictators, but mostly Castro I have never read Arenas s fiction but he was a well known writer who suffered hugely in Cuba He writ This was a different book, to say the least Initially I was put off by the rampant impersonal sex the author describes constantly with literally hundreds of young men I quit reading about a quarter of the way through but when I picked it back up, I was captivated This is the story of a wild, unbridled, rebel soul I learned so much about life in Cuba under 2 dictators, but mostly Castro I have never read Arenas s fiction but he was a well known writer who suffered hugely in Cuba He writes freely and vividly of the nightmare he endured trying to escape Yet when he finally does he lands in the U.S and feels lost and alone So I learned a lot, also, about what refugees endure when they leave a home they never really wanted to leave I googled the author about 3 4 of the way through this book so was prepared for the ending but I still sobbed I love Arenas s spirit and wildness and perseverance and bravery I loved this book he lived a life whose beginning and end were indeed the same from the start, one long, sustained sexual act says Guillermo Cabrera about Arenas life And man oh man, he wasn t kidding There is so much sex in this book It makes me think that everyone in Cuba is a sexhound waiting to pounce on each other, only restrained by social s and or the repressive government and its forced status quo there is so much sex, it s funny In his childhood he s having sex with all these animals ahe lived a life whose beginning and end were indeed the same from the start, one long, sustained sexual act says Guillermo Cabrera about Arenas life And man oh man, he wasn t kidding There is so much sex in this book It makes me think that everyone in Cuba is a sexhound waiting to pounce on each other, only restrained by social s and or the repressive government and its forced status quo there is so much sex, it s funny In his childhood he s having sex with all these animals and these incidents end up in invariably faux pas hijinx when he talks about how his cousin or someone accidentally kills a chicken, and a whole bunch of his friends fuck a goat Man, that s some crazy sex Also, throughout the book, characters are constantly popping boners, everyone s outward feelings and aggressions, transgressions and character mannerisms are somehow translated back to their sexuality I liked this book, a whole fucking lot But man, it s crazier about sex than Benny Hill I read it a while ago I think he fucked a dog too, i can t remember But hey, you shouldn t get shelved on the idea of this guy as a bestial terrorist, it s nothing like that he s a sexual provocateur, and this statement is evenalive within the context of his run ins with the government one of the most interesting parts of this book, i d say, is how he denies sexual encounters in prison The house of sexual implosion, rape city Homosexuals were faced with a supremely masculine culturalthat was pressured to impress machoism and repress all aspects of feminine decor in men any country where beards are the jount are probably all about macho camraderie is that fair to say So he describes the terrors of not only being a political dissident in prison, but being a HOMOSEXUAL political prisoner which is like being on fire as you crash into a flaming wall So this section of a memoir completely devoted to the sexual apotheosis of the otherwise shelved sensual world is suddenly reversed when he has to bite his lip, hide his boner and try to avoid the sexual deviancy taking over in a prison that is a microcosm of the worst politics Cuba has to offer devoting its utmost energies to a fascist reversion of the homosexual contra that the system seems to be so convinced thereof Like i said, i liked this book a lot Although it sure did shine a pretty harsh light on the communist system, which i guess i had a lot of reserved hope for HERE, let me offer you up a pretty quote detailing the pitfalls of the systemthe difference between the communist and the capitalist system is that, although both give you a kick in the ass, in the communist system you have to applaud, while in the capitalist system you can scream And i came to the US to screamI think my biggest problem with the realities Arenas found in communism were the subversive actions of his supposed friends within a system that is supposed to be cooperative I guess an honest thing this book projects is the lack of hope for ideal structures in government and in life, and how the system never owned up to its own failings It merely reported a life that was not happening This book turned me against the likes of Gabriel Marcia Marquez and loads of Cuban poets who Arenas describes with scorn on account of their backstabbing too many poets who were not for or critical of the communist system I realized it is not fair to abash certain talented writers ad hominem for the sake of one poet s opinion of their character, but he paints a pretty grim light on certain figureheads with their backstabbing Oh well, it s his memoir, he can hate who he wants Besides, he went through tons of shit trying to identify himself in a country which he loved but which tried to damn him because of what they projected as a threatening liberal attitude It makes sense that his character was so repressed in the country of which he was so attached, that he came to the US just gushing with scathing denouncements for the people who betrayed him hmm, maybe that s a bit hypocritical as well Only human though In all, this book is a detached centrifuge, an image from his deathbed of the Cuba he knew represented himself and was as much a part of him as it wasn t represented in the regime which tried to quash his sensual enlightenment This book was his swan song that he had to deliver to the people and the place from a distance, and i suppose he was very bitter because of it, as he saidthe exile is a person who, having lost a loved one, keeps searching for the face he loves in every new face and, forever deceiving himself, thinks he has found itIn a sense, this book is really sad, but i think it also offers up a very hopeful image of the human figure This one guy, a faggot writer with no sense better than any reasonably intelligent individual managed to stand up to a system which he just simply did not agree with, and while his death came before the regime s end, so that his stand in effect lost to the test of time, he still was able to project the poetry of his feat, the journey in a brilliant novel filled with immaculate sensations and the energy of a sexual hunger, the likes of which can only be compared to an overdrive of primitive necessity and fascinating devotion to the maddening human drive for affection and inspiration and need To leave on a quote, i like this oneTry to understand that he may be talking about a littlethan the muttering schizophrenic haunting his dilapidated apartment complex before he moved out of Cubai have never understood madness too well, but feel that in a way insane people are angels who, unable to bear the realities around them, must somehow take refuge in another world I don t know if this is literature and I certainly didn t read it as if it was skipping around and skimming sections as I do with rock biographies but it feels true to me And Reinaldo Arenas writes about literature as one who loves it above all certainly above politics Not for him any alignment with Left or Right , and I agree completely, when the so called Left can behave as the leaders of Cuba did during the period that Arenas writes about here Not only that, but when supporter I don t know if this is literature and I certainly didn t read it as if it was skipping around and skimming sections as I do with rock biographies but it feels true to me And Reinaldo Arenas writes about literature as one who loves it above all certainly above politics Not for him any alignment with Left or Right , and I agree completely, when the so called Left can behave as the leaders of Cuba did during the period that Arenas writes about here Not only that, but when supporters of Castro and the Left worldwide also participate in this repression.One of the most notorious examples of intellectual injustice in this century is Jorge Luis Borges, who was systematically denied the Nobel Prize simply because of his political views Borges is one of the most important Latin American writers of this century, perhaps the most important one however, the Nobel Prize was given to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the pastiche of Faulkner, personal friend of Castro s, and born opportunist His work, although not without merit, is permeated with cheap populism, and is not at the level of some other great writers who have either died in oblivion or been ignored.Sounds harsh Not when you consider that Marquez cheered Castro s repressive homophobic policies and criticised remorselessly the so called traitors who wished to leave Cuba at the height of their repression by rights Arenas should be farvenomous And he s right the Nobel Prize is so often political, and so often prejudiced toward the Left And Marquez is not a patch on Borges Me, I think the whole point of literature is that it s beyond such concerns, and I think it s beautiful that Arenas could find such joy in reading aloud, with his friends, the poems of a man Borges who possibly could not have abided the sexually outrageous behaviour of these admirers Isn t that the point of literature communication As to that outrageous sexual behaviour, I don t buy the line that it s exagerrated I mean, maybe It s just possible Arenas saw the chance of mocking the would be guardians of Cuban morality by painting the place as a homosexual free for all, but even if so I applaud him for it F king Che Guevara posters what are they if not homoerotic anyway Besides, every time I see that guy I hear Alan Vega Che Che he s wearin a red star he s smokin a cigar and when he died the whole world lied said he was a saint but I know he ain t Self important middle class so called artists poncing around talking about revolution, read this book Sure, Castro stuck it to the powers that be in the United States, and maybe that s a good thing, but if you can t allow your citizens their fundamental rights then your revolution, no matter what its intent, has failed As Arenas says, there s repression in both Cuba and the States, but in Cuba you must remain silent about it, whereas in the States you can scream Remarkably, this book is not a scream, though at times it s bloodcurdling And in some way though Arenas himself convincingly denies it it s a story of heroism, the simple heroism of a man who must write, who can write only for himself, and who keeps writing no matter what they throw at him My kind of hero Reinaldo Arenas, Before Night Falls Penguin, 1993 Arenas memoir of life in Cuba has recently been made into one of the finest films extant by Julian Schnabel Schnabel did an excellent job with the book while his interpretation of the text was loose in places, he managed to capture in images the style of Arenas writing.In other words, if you saw the movie before reading the book, you re going to be somewhat surprised Some of Schnabel smemorable scenes are mentioned in passing if at a Reinaldo Arenas, Before Night Falls Penguin, 1993 Arenas memoir of life in Cuba has recently been made into one of the finest films extant by Julian Schnabel Schnabel did an excellent job with the book while his interpretation of the text was loose in places, he managed to capture in images the style of Arenas writing.In other words, if you saw the movie before reading the book, you re going to be somewhat surprised Some of Schnabel smemorable scenes are mentioned in passing if at all in the book, and one of the film s central sequences, the balloon escape, gets one sentence Where Arenas and Schnabel intersect is in the lushness, the ability to find celebration and remarkable beauty inside the ugliness of the Castro regime and, for a few years worth, the Batista regime before it.Arenas memoir is also likely to shockthan a few in its sexual explicitness another aspect Schnabel rather shied away from, which I found a tad surprising while reading the book , but so be it There is nothing gratuitous about either Arenas promiscuity or his literary descriptions of it it s no different than using the language of excess to describe the beastliness of a life that involves hand to mouth poverty and political censure And throughout,than anything and perhaps this is what makes the book so powerful , Before Night Falls is a celebration, both of Arenas life and the lives of many other Cuban writers persecuted as dissidents in the latter half of the twentieth century 1 2 Shocking book, perfectly written It kept me up nights I don t know what to think, whose side to take as the author, refugee from Cuba to NY, terminally ill with AIDS, narrates his life right before chosing to end it, and this life is basically Gay suppresion vs Castro s Cuba I have an unconditional love for both gay fighters and for Castro, whom R Arenas considers the Devil himself and the cause of all his troubles Nevertheless, the book gave me enormous pleasure and subjects to think upon Shocking book, perfectly written It kept me up nights I don t know what to think, whose side to take as the author, refugee from Cuba to NY, terminally ill with AIDS, narrates his life right before chosing to end it, and this life is basically Gay suppresion vs Castro s Cuba I have an unconditional love for both gay fighters and for Castro, whom R Arenas considers the Devil himself and the cause of all his troubles Nevertheless, the book gave me enormous pleasure and subjects to think upon, without having to take sides.I read it in Greek |DOWNLOAD E-PUB ⚖ Antes Que Anoiteça ♞ Um excepcional testemunho de Reinaldo Arenas, agora no cinema pela m o de Julian Schnabel, com Javier Bardem como protagonista melhor actor no Festival de Veneza e nomeado para um scar de Hollywood No diade Dezembro de , o escritor cubano Reinaldo Arenas, em fase terminal de SIDA, suicidava se em Nova Iorque, deixando atr s de si este alucinante testemunho de natureza pessoal e pol tica, que havia conclu do poucos dias antes de morrerArenas, com efeito, reunira as tr s condi es essenciais para se tornar uma v tima do regime cubano era um escritor, um homossexual e um dissidenteFoi este texto violent ssimo, mas ao mesmo tempo de uma extrema sensibilidade, que o realizador Julian Schanabel adaptou agora ao cinema O leitor tem nas m os um livro extraordin rio Ant nio Mega Ferreira Absolutely stunningly brilliant, candid memoir Arenas does an immaculate job, as he would describe it, of screaming against the systems of control in this case, the so called communism but really dystopian dictatorship of castro s cuba which doggedly plagued the author throughout his life his scream is one of joy, and that joy often abounds from two distinct but sometimes overlapping subjects sexualityexplicitly, a hungry homoerotic sexuality and the sea these aspects provide the b Absolutely stunningly brilliant, candid memoir Arenas does an immaculate job, as he would describe it, of screaming against the systems of control in this case, the so called communism but really dystopian dictatorship of castro s cuba which doggedly plagued the author throughout his life his scream is one of joy, and that joy often abounds from two distinct but sometimes overlapping subjects sexualityexplicitly, a hungry homoerotic sexuality and the sea these aspects provide the book with its blunt poetic justice and sensibility the other over arching theme is his resistance to the brutal tyranny he was subject too under castro somewhat due but not limited to being because of his homosexuality totally scathing yet often in the same breathe utterly exuberant also, the book just oozes sex, which i found great entertainment but also touching, relatable and well articulated a total heartbreaker of a book but also a testament to what often gets dubbed the human spirit but isaccurately a total stand against oppression and systems of control The truth that stems from this book is beautiful Quite possibly my favorite writer at the moment Each description is original in thought and placed on paper with no insecurities resting behind his hand Beautiful, original, honesta human being that was able to turn his own tragedy and life s struggle into a poetic memoir that should greet the eyes of anyone that considers themselves a true fan of great literature This book will scare the shit out of you and make you think about Cuba and it The truth that stems from this book is beautiful Quite possibly my favorite writer at the moment Each description is original in thought and placed on paper with no insecurities resting behind his hand Beautiful, original, honesta human being that was able to turn his own tragedy and life s struggle into a poetic memoir that should greet the eyes of anyone that considers themselves a true fan of great literature This book will scare the shit out of you and make you think about Cuba and its people in an entirely new way To check out my review Rating 3.5I FINALLY finished reading this book after months of laziness and I am proud of myself that I actually read this entire book I desperately want to give this book the full 5 stars because Reinaldo Arenas s writing is impeccable but unfortunately this book is not meant for public consumption Ever since news has broken out about the United States negotiations with Cuba, I started getting curious over Cuba s history ev To check out my review Rating 3.5I FINALLY finished reading this book after months of laziness and I am proud of myself that I actually read this entire book I desperately want to give this book the full 5 stars because Reinaldo Arenas s writing is impeccable but unfortunately this book is not meant for public consumption Ever since news has broken out about the United States negotiations with Cuba, I started getting curious over Cuba s history ever since the Cuban Revolution and wanted to know if anyone has ever writing and lived through this era Technically I am 1st generation immigrant of Cuban parents since my mother was born and raised in Cuba until she left in 1968 with my grandmother, grandmother, and my uncle.Throughout my childhood and leading to adulthood I have gotten new glimpses about my Cuban family s history and the horrors of living under Fidel Castro s dictatorship but for once I wanted brand new eyes teaching me the part of Cuba that I did not know existed which were the countless artists that tried to survive in the new communist regime As I researched books about the revolution, I discovered Reinaldo Arenas who is a famous Cuban writer who was imprisoned for being a homosexual and a writer who spoke against the Cuban government Plus they made the film version with Javier Bardem and Johnny Depp Who wouldn t want to read this after witnessing this So in Before Night Falls, we are introduced to Reinaldo Arenas who was born in a very small village in Cuba Which no longer exist with a mother who lived with her parents since his father abandoned her when she got pregnant She fell in love with this man who clearly deceived her and being totally oblivious she had one night of passionate sex and 9 months later gave birth to a child His family life was very strange because he lived with his mother, grandmother, grandfather, and countless aunts who were desperate to marry a man All the women in his family suffered a cruel fate when it came to love and I believe because they were so desperate to have a man, they would give up everything to be with him and let him used her until he found the next good looking lady to play around with.Because he was living practically in nature, he got to see a different prospect of life and for a brief time he felt independent and free because being able to roam around in nature without anyone to bother him, swimming in the river, and overall connecting to the animals gave him this major spiritual and sexual awakening Whats crazy is by the time he was almost 10 years old, he already had desires to have sex with men and even let his older cousin fool around him Sadly after this period of enlightenment, everything went to garbage come 1959 Cuba before Fidel Castro was in a state of corruptness because they already had a dictator named Bautista who was making the country bankrupt to fill his greed Then comes Fidel Castro who is an intellectual, praised the people and encourage those to fight against Bautista in order to bring a new system of government and then finally one day Bautista fled the country giving Fidel Castro total control of Cuba.In that time period, Reinaldo was a teenager who volunteered for the revolution and clearly points out how they say thousands of soldiers died when in reality this big war wasa battle of intellects using propaganda to exaggeratethan the truth Under Fidel Castro s regime, he offered free education, medical care, and a bunch of empty promises that later would become lies Everyone feel in love with Fidel and sadly within a few years countless individuals were being persecuted in the name of the Revolution If you were part of the government before Fidel, you lost your job, went to jail, or got killed If you spoke against the government you were killed for being a counterrevolutionary He changed the currency of the country making it difficult for the rich and other individuals escape the country He also hated homosexuals and if you were caught for being one you were sent to jail or a concentration camp waiting to serve your sentence He utterly brought the citizens of Cuba to its knees and beg for mercy.As Reinaldo was growing up, he gets into military school to become an agricultural accountant but clearly has something else on his mind and pursues writing poetry In Havana, he enters a contest at the national library for storytelling and wins which offers the opportunity to become a writer and work for the library He becomes friends with other writers and get to live the artist lifestyle in Havana from having private literary gathers, watching live theater, ballet, and partying in the popular places in Havana Everything seems paradise but as always the arts is the first thing to go in a communist government and it became illegal to attend the beach, theater, and have literary gatherings that spoke against the government A bunch of Reinaldo s friends betrayed him by working for State Security or got other important jobs in the government The sense of friendship became nonexistent because if you spoke against Fidel or mention plans of escaping you would get arrested by the secret police.Once he was an adult by the early 1970s, he made the dumbest mistake of calling the cops over these two guys who he had sex on the beach who robbed his clothes and other items When the police arrived and found the two individuals they were sent to the police station The head of the police was the uncle of one of the individuals and quickly the two individuals said that Reinaldo and his friend tried molesting them and in return they beat him up and stole his stuff They were immediately released and because Reinaldo Arenas was a famous writer who wrote books that were censored from the government, they arrested him and put in jail.Luckily he escaped before heading to prison and now he is running for his life He tried countless ways of escaping the island but to no avail he was caught and finally sent to El Morro which is one of the most horrifying and dangerous prisons in Havana He was not charged for being a homosexual and he was lucky enough because of that he was not harassed in jail or put into the special section of the prison dedicated to drag queens, homosexuals, or transgender which were constantly abused, raped, or live in worst jail cells.He was in prison for almost a decade, living in excruciating heat, freezing temperatures, barely any food to eat He was constantly interrogated to make a confession that he was counterrevolutionary, a homosexual, and the names of his conspirators If he wanted to used the bathroom he had a hole to use which always got feces stuck to his feet and constantly had to smell the foul odor of his other inmates and himself.In the end he survives through all this horror and finally comes to America thanks to the Mariel boat lift but unfortunately he has been forever changed from the horrors of Fidel Castro His friends were murdered, put into jail, committed suicide, escape to another country and for years he was not able to see his family When he came to America he was shocked how the U.S supports Fidel Castro and what he has done for the Cuban people He was outraged and felt like a stranger which he practically was since he was an exile never finding a place called home Sadly because he left Cuba to New York in the 1980s and him being a homosexual he got the AIDS virus and committed suicide in 1990.The issues that I had with the book is as follows 1 THIS BOOK WAS TOO LONG OMG this man writes beautiful and has an incredible flow with his storytelling especially since English is not his 1st native language but he could had cut out about 100 pages and be done with it I disliked how I had to read 100 pages about his childhood in order for the story to become interesting and not put me to sleep 2 His sexual encounters became out of control He practically had sex with any person who had a penis and I did not find any romance or intimacy with his sexual encounters I felt like he was like a piece of meat while every man took a bite out of him and discarded him I understand people who have constant promiscuous sex which is perfectly fine by me but this man supposedly had sex by the thousands He would go to the beach one day, hid around in the bushes and then there would be a hundred men waiting to have their turn with him Finally the final reason that I did not enjoy as much as I did was because this book is not meant for public consumption And what I mean by that is yes it was interesting learning about Cuba during the 1940s 1970s, but he mentions so many people that he encountered, people of no importance, or individuals that are either quickly forgotten or too much gossip about them that you lose sense of who is who It is important for everyone to learn about his story, a story that thousands of Cubans have lived through but this book was dedicatedfor his friends and family that knew him Even though we learn of the horrors about Cuba, he plays homage to those who successfully escaped the island and to his friends and family who unfortunately died in Cuba in its disparity.What this book taught me is how thankful I am for my grandmother to be able to have relatives in America who were able to claim her and her family in order to escape the craziness of what was happening in Cuba If it weren t for her I would never have been born or I would have been born in Cuba in a country that countless people are starving every day, they lack any means of communication of the outside world, and a country that would have persecuted me already because of sexual identity It is sad that millions of Cubans have been murdered in the hands of one man, one man only People praise Fidel which is perfectly fine because we live in a country where Freedom of Speech is allowed But if you look at the island in itself, and take the time to witness how these people have become ignorant savages in their own island it makes you wonder who would let these people suffer with no food, clean water, barely any money, and no freedom of speech and equal rights Then you ask yourself who is control of this government and thats when you put two and two together and realize that the country has had a dictator for 56 years who uses the Cuban revolution as the excuse for his actions I will never understand how people worship Fidel Castro and Che Guevara I pray that one day Cuba can finally be free and in peace I wish no harm towards my enemies but I wish we can finally find peace and put everything to rest