Before Night Falls

Before Night Falls

4.16 (3,718 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Translated by  , Foreword by 

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Reinaldo Arenas was born to a poverty-stricken family in rural Cuba. By the time of his death in New York four decades later, he had become one of Cuba's most important poets, an outspoken critic of Castro's regime and one of the leading gay voices of the twentieth century.

In Before Night Falls, Arenas tells of his odyssey from young rebel fighting for the Revolution, through his suppression as a writer, his disillusionment with Castro, his imprisonment and torture, to his eventual exile from Cuba to New York, where in 1987 he was diagnosed with AIDS. He committed suicide in 1990, ending a life of constant struggle against repression. In a farewell note, Arenas wrote:

Due to my delicate state of health and to the terrible depression that causes me not to be able to continue writing and struggling for the freedom of Cuba, I am ending my life ...

I do not want to convey to you a message of defeat, but of continued struggle and hope.

Cuba will be free. I already am.


Reinaldo Arenas
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Product details

  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 20mm | 281g
  • Profile Books Ltd
  • Serpent's Tail
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main - Classic edition
  • 1781258686
  • 9781781258682
  • 279,803

Review quote

One of the most shattering testimonials ever written on the subject of oppression and defiance -- Mario Vargas Llosa Reading Arenas is like witnessing a bare consciousness in the process of assimilating the most universal, but powerful, human experiences and turning them into literature * The New York Times * Any attempt to reckon with Cuba's torturous twentieth century will have to take into account Arenas's monumental work ... an essential human testimony, joyful and enraged, a triumph of conscience -- Garth Greenwell A document of a particular and disturbing honesty by one of the truly great writers to come out of Latin America * Chicago Tribune * One of the most searing satirical writers of the 20th century, a worthy successor to Aristophanes and Swift -- Jaime Manrique * Village Voice *
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About Reinaldo Arenas

Reinaldo Arenas was born in Holguin, Cuba, in 1943. His first novel, Singing from the Well, was awarded First Mention in Cuba's Cirilo Villaverde National Competition. It was to be his only book published in his native country. Both as a gay man and a writer, he found himself persecuted by the Cuban government, and had to smuggle his work out of the country for publication in France. He left Cuba in 1980 and settled in New York, where he lived until his death in 1990.
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Rating details

3,718 ratings
4.16 out of 5 stars
5 42% (1,561)
4 38% (1,399)
3 16% (587)
2 4% (137)
1 1% (34)
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