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The Fallen: Book summary and reviews of The Fallen by Carlos Manuel Álvarez

The Fallen

by Carlos Manuel Álvarez

The Fallen by Carlos Manuel Álvarez X
The Fallen by Carlos Manuel Álvarez
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2020
    160 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

A vibrant and meticulously constructed debut novel about familial and cultural breakdown.

A powerful, unsettling portrait of family life in Cuba, Carlos Manuel Álvarez's first novel is a masterful portrayal of a society in free fall. Diego, the son, is disillusioned and bitter about the limited freedoms his country offers him as he endures compulsory military service. Mariana, the mother, is unwell, prone to mysterious seizures, and forced to relinquish control over the household to her daughter, Maria, who has left school and is working as a chambermaid in a state-owned tourist hotel. The father, Armando, is a committed revolutionary, a die-hard Fidelista who is sickened by the corruption he perceives all around him. As each member of the family narrates seemingly quotidian and overlapping events, they grow increasingly at odds for reasons that remain elusive to them―each of them holding and concealing their own secrets.

In meticulously charting the disintegration of a single family, The Fallen offers a poignant reflection on contemporary Cuba and the clash of the ardent idealism of the old guard with the jaded pragmatism of the young. This is a startling and incisive debut by a radiant new voice in Latin American literature.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A dreamlike yet insightful novel of a family and a country decaying from the inside...Álvarez has written an unnervingly subtle and effective exploration of the cost of blind idealism on families." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Occasionally, verbal slippage occurs between Álvarez's poetic vantage and the voices of the characters, though Wynne's translation gracefully honors the four voices of the family in startling and sharp language. Álvarez's fittingly surreal gloss of insight on her characters' generational divide gives the book real power." - Publishers Weekly

"[An] absorbing debut novel...A reminder that the period following a crisis may be just as interesting as the crisis itself." - The Telegraph (UK)

"In a dysfunctional environment, deception invades private family life...In a poetic telling, this short novel explores the human capacity to love and to hurt." - The Irish Times

"The Fallen is a subtle, intelligent, and profoundly moving novel which sketches, in elegant and thoughtful prose, a rarely seen Cuban landscape." - Alia Trabucco Zerán, author of The Remainder

The information about The Fallen shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Carlos Manuel Álvarez has contributed to the New York Times, El País, BBC World, and the Washington Post. In 2017 he was included in the Bogotá39 list of the best Latin American writers under forty. He divides his time between Havana and Mexico City.

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