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The Assault (Pentagonía #5)

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  136 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
A passionate, epic writer, the author of Before Night Falls, concludes his five-novel sequence--a "secret history of Cuba" and a writer's autobiography--with this allegorical satire. Arenas paints a harrowing yet boldly entertaining Kafka-esque picture of a dehumanized people and the despair of an observer/narrator clinging to sanity.
Hardcover, 145 pages
Published December 31st 1994 by Viking Books (first published 1990)
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Jan 04, 2009 Ariel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: east-terrace
I'm updating this to five stars instead of four after a second read, and because we have been living breathing eating pissing fucking this book for an upcoming dance, 3-6 hours a day and you better get to liking it. Brilliant hallucinatory terrifying hilarious vision of oppressive society, i.e. Castro's Cuba...breeding permits...patriotic irrigation...cockroach-stomping holidays...TOTAL ANNIHILATION...grrrrr grrrr HOORAY
Aug 08, 2010 Charlaralotte rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
I got the socio-political satire. And then it went on and on and on, with not much change or variation, and I lost interest.

This could have easily been a short story since you really don't want to spend much time with the main character. He has no redeeming qualities, and unlike the poor people in his country, you as the reader can escape his persecution quite easily by shutting the damn book.
May 15, 2017 Pat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reads like a mix of We, American Psycho, Dead/Alive and the back half of The Futurological Congress.

It's also the final of apparently 5 books the guy wrote about Castro's Cuba. Be interesting to see if he leads from a recognizable society into the brutal mutant hellscape nightmare of The Assault, or if that's just the setting, get used to it.
Qué novela esta: tres frases le dan a uno la bienvenida a la historia, lo van dejando acomodar a paso lento en la trama, y de golpe, en una frase más, una fuerza que llega sin decir aquí voy lo coge a uno con la misma firmeza con la que uno sostiene el libro y se queda ahí hasta la última palabra: “La última vez que vi a mi madre fue detrás del Gran Consolidado de las Madres Patrias. Ella estaba inclinada, recogiendo unos palos. Estaba así, de espaldas, agachada, un poco como derrengándose por e ...more
Layla Martínez
Aug 04, 2013 Layla Martínez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una de las distopías más terribles que haya leído nunca. El Estado no solo controla a los individuos, sino que se convierte en los individuos. Se elimina hasta el vocabulario, que queda reducido a veinte palabras, y los héroes de la patria son los que han olvidado el lenguaje. Hay fragmentos del libro que son capaces de provocarte reacciones físicas, hasta casi la náusea. Me ha recordado a "Plop" de Rafael Pinedo, aunque en realidad sería al revés, claro, porque la trilogía de Pinedo es posterio ...more
Jason McDowell
Just read this for a class. Definitely not the best thing I have read in this genre.

Despite the weirdness of the satire and the unbelievable world Arenas builds here, I had the ending pegged about 40 pages in. The main character is completely unlikable. The good news is you can read it in a few hours.

To describe it simply, I'd call it violent, predictable, and longer than it needed to be.
Apr 16, 2011 Steve rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Big Brother goes to Cuba. An acid-filled headbutt to the face of totalitarianism. A country (obviously Cuba)in which all-out slaughter of the citizens is carried out as punishment for the slightest of crimes by the narrator.
Kara Crabb
Jan 20, 2016 Kara Crabb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cockroaches, anal sex, and fun!
Robb Todd
Dark and funny--and a warning. He may have had a different government in mind when he wrote it, but governments change and this book has relevance for many he might never have intended it for.
Didn't enjoy it that much
Apr 21, 2013 Kai'l rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
in a word: violent.
Feb 15, 2016 Boris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very different than anything I've ever read. Worth reading I think.
Jun 06, 2009 Jerry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a great book, a few interesting moments, but a strange kafkian book that is just a part of the larger oeuvre.
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Arenas was born in the countryside, in the northern part of the Province of Oriente, Cuba, and later moved to the city of Holguín. In 1963, he moved to Havana to enroll in the School of Planification and, later, in the Faculty of Letters at the Universidad de La Habana, where he studied philosophy and literature without completing a degree. The following year, he began working at the Biblioteca Na ...more
More about Reinaldo Arenas...

Other Books in the Series

Pentagonía (5 books)
  • Singing from the Well
  • The Palace of the White Skunks
  • Farewell to the Sea: A Novel of Cuba
  • The Color of Summer: or The New Garden of Earthly Delights

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