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Tres Tristes Tigres

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  782 ratings  ·  65 reviews
Cabrera Infante's masterpiece, Three Trapped Tigers is one of the most playful books to reach the U.S. from Cuba. Filled with puns, wordplay, lists upon lists, and Sternean typography—such as the section entitled "Some Revelations," which consists of several blank pages—this novel has been praised as a more modern, sexier, funnier, Cuban Ulysses.

Centering on the recollecti
Paperback, 523 pages
Published January 8th 2002 by Editorial Seix Barral (first published 1965)
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I was dizzy and short of breath when I finally saw this on the shelves at Twice-Told back in my Boom days. My vertigo may have been induced by the fact that I lived on espresso and spent all food money on books and cds. Those were strange times of death-trap automobiles and working two full-time jobs to remain poor but literate.

The friendship displayed in the Three Trapped Tigers was beyond moving. The erudition itself was arresting but the emotional bond within the text captured me. I have fel
MJ Nicholls
A punnilinguistic tour de farce—a hip and swinging hepcat’s tour around the Cuban vernacular and a strenuous intellectual workout for fans of exploding forms. Infante’s fragmented opus leans on the Sterne, Joyce, and Rabelais influence to a mirthmaking extent—bursting with puns and wordplays that deliver the same bursts of bliss as CB-R’s Amalgamemnon (esp. in the ‘Brainteaser’ section). The musical freewheeling ramble of the Beats can be found in the ‘I Heard Her Sing’ sections that form the em ...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
This starts strongly. Somewhere before its halfway mark I kept muttering brilliant brilliant brilliant, chuckling every now and then. But the author, with diverse characters in pre-Castro Havana, seemingly ran out of ideas. This, I suppose, can happen when a one writes fiction not really to tell a story, but only to play. Play with words. And indeed G. Cabrera Infante did a lot of things to words here. Almost every imaginable things one can possibly do to words. And names even: of authors (Aldus ...more

"When I had finished listening to Silvestre, without saying anything, before hanging up, hanging up the suddenly black terrorphone, in morning that mourning, I said to myself, Fuck and shit, the whole world dies! Meaning the happy and the sad, geniuses and morons, the open and the inhibited and the cheerful and the gloomy and the ugly and the beautiful and damned and the bearded and the shaven and those with five o'clock shadows and the tall and the short and the vicious and the innocent and the
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Perhaps you could corroborate this for me ; but it seems to me that when your books start to suck, a very reliable avenue to take is one headed south. Cuba is as far as you need go. Three Trapped Tigers (the Spanish is better :: Tres Tristes Tigres) will get you there. Or, if not heading south, is it a matter of that Dalkey spine? Two birds, one binding. Happiland!

Two kwetch’s. First, What the hell is going on? is a feeling I rather depend upon for my proper enjoyment of a novel. Without those p
Nov 11, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: davemurray101 and the 1001 books list
Technically I've just committed an act of fraud by pressing the "I'm finished" button in order to write this review. I didn't actually finish this book. Didn't even come remotely close. Really I shouldn't be awarding a rating to this either. Essentially I'm awarding a rating to Guillermo Cabrera Infantes book which is entirely based on my own personal inability to engage with and absorb the writing therein.

But what the hell. I did try with this one but I really couldn't get on board with the wr
Tony Hightower
For my money, as underappreciated a novel as I have ever read. Imagine Joyce in Havana in the 1950's, hanging out with the two-bit glamor girls and the big-band underbelly of Cuban society, living an American Graffitiesque life with his two best friends, all of them chasing women and drink and privacy and kicks, and kicks, and kicks, and kicks.

When people say a book is laugh-out-loud funny, they generally don't mean it, but lovers of wordplay and who have even a vague understanding of mid-20th C
Vit Babenco
“If you look closely, there is no book more visual than Three Trapped Tigers, in that it is filled with blank pages, dark pages, it has stars made of words, the famous magical cube made of numbers, and there is even a page which is a mirror.” – Guillermo Cabrera Infante.
If Jorge Luis Borges were to write a novel and if he did belong to the beat generation he would create an opus like this.
“If the sleep of reason produces monsters, what does the sleep of unreason produce?”
The denizens of tropical
Un juego. Un Juego. De palabras, en la estructura, de sonidos, con los personajes, con las palabras, con el Tiempo, con los números, con los tiempos, con la historia, en la narrativa, con la Historia. En todo. Con todo juega. ¡Prólogo, epílogo y todo lo que hay en medio de esos dos puntos! Desde la nota advertiva y pre-prologuera, ya está jugando, nos está plantando las reglas del juego. Y como buen juego, uno se divierte durante el trayecto.

De esos libros que obligan revisar capítulos anterior
"It has been customary to read 700-page novels," writes James Woods in his famous essay on the the modern novel, "Hysterical Realism," "to spend hours within a fictional world without experiencing anything really affecting or beautiful." Woods had in mind writers like DeLillo, David Foster Wallace, Rushdie, and (especially) Zadie Smith, but he might have put Guillermo Cabrera-Infante at the top of the list. I would.

Of course, that's a little unfair of me, because I didn't read all of this book.
Tedious, drab, lifeless, insipid, vapid, tiresome, morose,exhausting, laborious, arduous, lacklustre, humourless and just plain boring.

The first line may give you a rough idea as to how much I enjoyed this book but let me tell you that I feel rather guilty about listing this book and review on this site because for me it was anything but a "goodread". In fact if I could have given it a minus score I probably would have, it gets 1 simply because it is finally over and done with.

The story such as
Really mixed feelings about this one. Insanely dense "word play" But like a pit bull puppy that grew up too fast, the play has become an unstoppable torrent of aggression that kind of left me feeling battered. Perhaps some people I know would be more receptive to this kind of unbridled creativity, but I like my creativity with a bridle on it.
This book is about Havana, 24/7 and 100 mph. Day-Glo drunken hyper-realism bleeds into a mutant hybrid of meda-absurdity and formal logic. This book is lik
Amber Berry
Although I was reading several other books at time, I felt I had to devote most of my attention to this novel, since I had requested my library to purchase it. I don't remember how it came to my attention, but I suspect it was because of a music reference.
I read about the first 200 pages, then skimmed through the middle sections and ended with the final 100 pages (there are 487 pages in the 2004 Dalkey edition.)
This book is for people who love words and wordplay, and don't mind cliches (which ar
Toby Elliott
this little known cuban author has written a crazy, graphically engaging, rich novel set in - well, Cuba - in the fifties. the cabana! the cigars! the women! the drinking, the ecstasy ... but also, the darkness beyond ringside, the muttering in the wings. gunshots in the night.

i've loaned this book to a few friends & they've all been totally astonished that they'd never even heard of Guillermo Cabrera Infante before. for more information on him: . he has been compared to James Joyce as we
Jessica Bee
the chapter on bustrofedon sends me into linguistic ecstasies. I can only imagine how amazing it must be in its original spanish.
Gijs Grob
'Drie trieste tijgers' is de Spaanstalige tegenhanger van Ulysses, een boek dat Cabrera Infante ook zelf vertaalde. Het is eigenlijk geen echte roman - een verhaal ontbreekt, en een groot deel van de hoofdstukken staan in geen of weinig verbinding met de andere. De rode draad vormen de belevenissen van vier vrienden in het Cuba van de jaren vijftig, en dan vooral het nachtleven daarvan.

Maar vooral is 'Drie trieste tijgers' een boek over taal. De schrijver geniet duidelijk van de mogelijkheden di
Hmm, that was a bit weird.

Approached in the right frame of mind - as in, prepared to go along for the ride rather than expecting such fripperies as..erm..a plot - this was ok for a while. Some of the wordplay was fun and some of the earlier scenes conveyed quite well the adult playground vibe that pre-revolutionary Havana is supposed to have had (albeit in a very male-centric way).

Having said that, the lack of any real direction meant that it all became increasingly dull. The wordplay, fun at f
A la altura de Cortazar, Sabato y Garcia Marquez. Increiblemente ingenioso, lleno de sorpresas, chistes camuflados y un juego de palabras muy inteligente. Este libro me tuvo riendome durante horas, a la vez rodeandome de un sentimiento de oscuridad y tristeza. Es uno de esos libros que hay que leer multiples veces, y con cada lectura entender un nuevo chiste, un nuevo juego de palabras. Eso si, al igual que Cortazar y Borges, leer Tres Tristes Tigres require saber cantidades de literatura e hist ...more
Un viaje por la noche. Por la juerga. Por la musica. Por las mujeres. Por el lenguaje. Uno mas de esos libros sin destino. Precursor de Cortazar? O sucesor? De Bolano, precursor, sin duda. Un humor mordaz, un ingenio delirante con el uso del doble sentido, del triple, del sin sentido. Personajes entranables (Bustrofedon, Silvestre). El placer de leer por el placer de leer, aunque no haya una historia digerible o descubrible. Uno de esos libros que uno llena de notas, de dobleces en esquinas y en ...more
Israel Jaime
Sí, un ejercicio interesante de uso del lenguaje y la polifonía, sin embargo, me pareció ya rebasado por la época, es decir, como si hubiese perdido cierto valor leerlo actualmente que hace todavía veinte o más años. En su momento sí debió haber representado toda una aportación. Por otro lado, aunque reconozco en el libro un buen grado de experimentación, a veces me desesperaba que no ocurriera "nada", me quedé en suspenso las más de 400 páginas.
Claudia Carvalho Silva
Ao ler Três Tristes Tigres, fui sugada para um mundo literário ao qual não estava habituada. É um livro que transporta em si uma riqueza enorme, um estilo diferente, uma variedade gloriosa: desde números, a referências, palavras, pontos de vista, à complexidade e interligação dos dramas paralelos...

Guillermo Cabrera Infante é um verdadeiro mágico das palavras. Brinca com elas, cria trocadilhos, troça com o seu arranjo, mistura idiomas. Inclui nas suas palavras emoções, estados de espírito, inte
Dilsia A.
Nov 04, 2011 Dilsia A. is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I find it difficult to read, one has to be good at Spanish language because of the word games the author embarks on. It gives a glimpse of the Havana during the fifties before Castro's Revolution in which la Estrella a black big woman sings "boleros", Estrella was a real person her name Fredesvinda García Valdés la Freddy.
This is a work of art. Working under censorship in Cuba, and then in Franco's Spain, Cabrera Infante finally produced a text that challenges our ideas of how Castro's Cuba became a reality. Both political and social in nature, this work is a playful as well as mocking commentary of Castro's destruction of a Cuba now lost.
Guillermo Carbrera Infante was born in 1929 in Gibara, a small town in Cuba. His father was one of the founders of the Cuban Communist Party. Through poverty the author could not realize his dreams of a medical career. One of his jobs was proof reading. I found this book to be quite heavy I read it many years ago and I did so because one of my friends said it was an engrossing read. I thought it was a little hard going at times and put it away for a while. I then decided to give it another go an ...more
dianne budd
clever, wordy and occasionally hilarious - but a Whole Lot of verbal and intellectual masturbation - overall not worth the (great amount of) time.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Geoff Wehmeyer
One of the funniest and most out of left field books I've ever read.
Simão Pedro
Pá, a narrativa deste romance faz tanto sentido como a partida de futebol entre filósofos de Monty Python, tem tudo a ver com o 'nada' que é tudo em Seinfeld. Um hino à escrita e miscigenação dos vários tipos de cultura, um marco no meio dos marcos da literatura universal; puro boom latino-americano literário.

- Uma boa filha duma putice!

Genius Cuban writer....wish he was more well known. Great even in translation--the Spanish is dizzingly brilliant.

"Coffee is a sexual stimulant. Tea is intellectual. Mate is the bitter primitive residue of a hungover dawn in New York circa 1955. (I am speaking for myself and also for you, Silvestre. I don't care what the scientists say. For this reason my example should be seen as both personal and remote.)
A coffee sipped on the corner of 12th and 23rd, at dawn, or just before, the morning win
Erez Levinberg
Couldn't finish it , bad translation
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“If the sleep of reason produces monsters, what does the sleep of unreason produce?” 7 likes
“Así que así era yo y no había quien me cambiara, porque pasaba el tiempo y me ponía viejo y los días pasaban y se convertían en fecha y los años se convertían en efemérides y yo seguía así, quedándome con las noches, metiéndolas en un vaso con hielo o en un negativo o en el recuerdo” 1 likes
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