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The Lazarus Rumba: A Novel
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The Lazarus Rumba: A Novel

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  40 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
This extraordinarily ambitious novel sets out to portray the spiritual landscape of the Cuban people in the wake of Castro's revolutionary upheaval. Like Cervantes' Don Quixote, The Lazarus Rumba describes a country beset by social dislocation and personal confusion, a country whose soul is best captured by a lush magic realism woven from innumerable tales told in voices b ...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published July 14th 2000 by Picador (first published 1999)
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I admit, when it comes to magical realism, I can be somewhat of a snob. I compare everything to Marquez, which makes everything fail. I try not to do this, but I can't help it. Aside from Allende, this is the first book I've read that can be placed on the same level as One Hundred Years of Solitude. It's like a rich fabric of history; a tapestry that alternates between the truth of things that really happen and a flowing, magical perspective that navigates through the tragic stories of the peopl ...more
Mar 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Richly detailed and intense, the book presents a stunningly large-scale narrative of the Cuban experience, in a uniquely surreal style.

The story occasionally drags under its own (admittedly hefty) weight, and knowledge of at least rudimentary Spanish is a must, as well as some basic Caribbean culture lessons.

Given the requisite background, the intense story and unique flavor make the investment that it takes to this read novel a rewarding endeavor.
Apr 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I've spent the last 15 minutes trying to find a way to accurately describe this book. Everytime I cracked open this book I felt like I was stepping into Cuba in the 50's. This is by far the best book I have read since Huckleberry Finn. If you liked Water for Chocolate you will be enthralled by "The Lazarus Rumba".
Susan Richards
Aug 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Wonderful magical realism written in English, so not dealing with a translation. Uses many Spanish phrases, much of them slang and not in my two dictionaries. After a while I gave up on the dictionaries and just got most of it from context. Immersion, as the whole novel is. This is my preferred way to get a better understanding of the complex politics of the Cuban revolution. Nuanced politics, together with deep love and connection with the land, and surreal fanatastical stories and characters. ...more
I don't know how to describe this book or what to say. 480+ pages about Cuba during and after La Revolucion, told through a mind-boggling (in a good way) combination of fact, fantasy, and metaphor - and beautiful imagery (well, beautifully written. The images are rarely beautiful.) Despite the 66 characters (I think), it left me with an overwhelming feeling of loneliness. I'm sure there's a lot that I didn't understand, or that went over my head, so I'd really like to read it again someday. But ...more
Nov 30, 2013 rated it liked it
This was a tough book to read and I read half then walked away and read the other half 6 months later! I like the style and appreciated the full spectrum of what Mestre-Reed was trying to accomplish. I also love Cuba and reading all things Cuban. As others mentioned, I found the extensive gay sex tiring; perhaps a mix of some hetero sex would have helped!? That said, he took on a monumental task of history, culture, plot, great extensive character development, and style.
Amy Yam
Mar 15, 2013 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this book more... I just couldn't past the disgusting nature of many of the scenes. I don't do well with large quantities of flies, let's just say. Yeccch. And pedophilia is not my thing, either. I understand that all sorts of weird can happen in the name of magical realism, but, eew, I just couldn't keep going after a while. Sorry, Mestre-Reed.
Feb 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this kind of but I was relieved when it ended- it's long and unrelentingly sorrowful.
If you read this make sure you have a Spanish/English dictionary handy at all times- there is a lot of Spanish, especially curse words (which are fun to look up)
Jan 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The best novel about Cuba after the revolution that I've ever read!
Elpidio Montes de Oca
Un mundo mágico donde la realidad y sobre naturaleza cubanas se conjugan para presentarnos testimonios variopintos pre revolucionarios y pos revolucionarios .
I wanted to read this book, I started it and then felt no desire to continue reading it... This seems like a summer time book to me. To bulky for the winter
Jan 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I've read it twice, and I thought it was absolutely fabulous!
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