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Felaketzedeler Evi

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  822 ratings  ·  114 reviews
Küba’nın 47 yaşında intihar eden dâhi yazarı Guillermo Rosales’in, ağır bir şizofreniden muzdarip olduğu günlerde kaldığı zamanlardakine benzeyen bir bakımevini anlattığı Felaketzedeler Evi’nin baş karakteri William Figuares, –yine tam da yazar gibi– Küba’dan Miami’ye gelmiş sürgün bir yazardır. Ama halası, onu göçmenlerin çoğunlukta olduğu “bakımevi”ne yerleştirince ...more
Paperback, 114 pages
Published November 2017 by Jaguar Kitap (first published 1987)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  822 ratings  ·  114 reviews

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May 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, life-is-shit
I might change this to five stars one day. I'm not feeling very generous with that extra star at the moment though. One of the reviews on the back mentions the amount of cruelty jammed into just a little over 100 pages, and I concur. Like This Way to the Gas Chambers, Ladies and Gentlemen, this book spares no one in the exposure of being a pretty despicable human being. Inside each and every one of us lies a fascist ready to do the worst things imaginable to others and it's just a matter of the ...more
Onur B
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One Cuban Author has sent to America as exile. He starts to live nursing home with semi-intelligent people. In the difficult condition at this place, William held on the life with his lover Francis. They start t love to each other dramatically. Nice book.
Jun 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this short book was especially tragic knowing this gifted author struggled so much personally with mental illness and that he would die by suicide shortly after publication. This story was haunting, revealing the miserable lifestyles of poverty and the abuse of power on the vulnerable sector. The main character seemed to be on the road to recovery. I wish that the author had not destroyed most of his written work before he died.
Jun 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita… In the middle of my life’s journey, I came to myself in a dark wood, where the direct way was lost. That’s how Dante’s Inferno begins, and this is pretty much the starting point for Rosales’ hellish little novel about Cuban exile William Figueras. After his American relatives greet him at the airport, expecting a successful man of letters but finding a bitter and irrational husk gibbering insults, Figueras finds himself shunted to a succession of psychiatric ...more
Oct 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
William Figueras is a man who dreams. He dreams of his home in Cuba, of Fidel Castro, of the living and the dead, and of most unspeakable violence.

He also dreams of leaving the Halfway House, of marrying, of having a life free from disembodied voices and spirits.

William Figueras indulges himself with the words of English poets, long since dead; the likes of William Blake, Samuel Coleridge, and Lord Byron. He also reads the work of Ernest Hemingway, dead from suicide at the age of 61.

Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, cuban
This is another book about a man in a psychiatric home, written by a schizophrenic author, although unlike All Dogs Are Blue, there is no humour. It is bleak, showing the very worst of human nature - the people who run the home have a lot of power, and take advantage of the vulnerable residents, stealing from them, sexually abusing them, beating them, and neglecting their basic needs. The story is from the perspective of William, a new resident to the home. His aunt has sent him there because ...more
Michael Seidlinger
Despair. Despair. Despair.

"Because in the halfway house, no one has anyone."

An extremely heartbreaking novella. Quite the surprise and quite the quick read.
La casa de los náufragos is an autobiographical investigation of not only exile, but Cuban exilement as a marielito in Miami. Rosales explores what places and spaces mean to his "self," how displacement and movement from Cuba --> the boarding home --> Miami impacts his identity ("Cuban," "exile," and "loco"), and how skewed power dynamics transform violence into a means of obtaining humanity.

May 20, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Halfway House was sad. It tells the story of a Cuban refugee who has come to Miami to live with his family and to have a better life. However, he gets caught in a downward spiral when his family in Miami feels they are unable to help him. He is strange and cannot adjust to his new life. He is then sent to the Halfway House where he is stuck with a cast of mentally ill characters. His moral compass fails him as he sinks to low levels of behavior typical of the house. He feels that it is not ...more
May 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unfortunately, I loaned this book out to a friend so I don't have it in front of me and it's been about a month since I read it, so I can't do it justice in a review. But this is a truly harrowing account of the refugee experience and delves into how damaging the revolution in Cuba was to so many people on an emotionally arresting level rivaling Arenas. The degredation and resignation to it that the main character, William Figueras, faces while stuck in a home for the indigent and mentally ill ...more
Jul 27, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The reviews praise this book for exposing the horrors of Miami's board-and-cares (what are apparently called boarding homes there), which I suppose is useful in some ways, but a good newspaper feature would have done it better. I was struck by the author's need to repeat the same detail about each character (other than the two or three main ones) whenever they appeared so that we'd be able to remember who they were. Somehow that doesn't seem like a good sign. And the conclusion was utterly ...more
Jonathan yates
Mar 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is incredibly depressing and dark, however it is so beautifully written and wonderfully vivid, i'd say its one of the best books i've read this year!
Jul 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
hope spot: the novel. i just feel really sad right now.

this was bleak. i still think about it sometimes.
Lewis Manalo
Apr 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is powerful stuff. A simple story, but ultimately very moving. (The squalor reminded me of my old neighborhood.)
Burçin Acar
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am shaken by this book. Its topic is hard, all the horrible treatments people had to endure are difficult to witness even as words on a page. The book narrates a story on living in a boarding house in Miami and lives of guests in this house with all their mental and physical pains. Reading such hardships and torments other people mostly aggravate, I end up always asking why are we doing this? why did we create such a world and such a cruel life? are we corrupted by nature? or is it just the ...more
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a wonderful book from a great writer. rosales is to me, the soul mate of fante, bukowski and artaud.
Kyle Fitzpatrick
Decent exploration of the mind via 1960s Miami.
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quick and quirky read.
Anthony Ó Dálaigh
A short novel about unpleasant people, squalid circumstances, and dreams. William is a young man aged beyond his years by disappointment and poverty, by mental illness and mistreatment. A refugee from Cuban 'culture, literature, television, sporting events, history and philosophy', he is also an exile of the revolutionary dream, that remains the defining blow in the lives of so many of the Miami Cuban community. His arrival at this 'halfway house' comes after his own extended family has tired of ...more
Hugo Santos
Dec 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'Go tell Curbelo,' Arsenio says indifferently. He grabs the milk bottle carelessly and starts filling the glasses with apathy. Half of the milk ends up on the floor. I grab my glass and, standing, gulp it down on the spot in one fell swoop. I leave the dining room. I reenter the main house and sit down in the tattered armchair again. But first I turn on the television. A famous singer comes on, a man they call El Puma. The women of Miami worship him. El Puma gyrates. 'Viva, viva, viva la ...more
Jul 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To walk into The Halfway House is to inhabit this particular microcosm of misfits somewhere in Miami, people for whom “nothing more can be done.” The experience can be harrowing, and yet, at times, it appears as though Eros might win over Thanatos. We follow the life of William Figueras, a Mariel refugee from Cuba with a history of mental illness (much like the author himself), as he descends into this modern day inferno, yet he’s not crazy, but rather deeply aware of the abuse and the sordid ...more
Beth Asma
May 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Beth Asma by: World Literature Today Bookclub
A vivid, realistic look at a young Cuban exile's life, differing markedly from the traditionally well-off image of other Cuban exiles, who fled Castro to the freedom of Miami. William Figueras however seems to have traded one tyranny for another, and his bourgeois relatives want nothing to do with the emaciated former Communist and teacher, whose father had been a lawyer. His constant reading of literature and his kindled hope for a future belie the dirty, substandard boarding house, whose ...more
A rather disturbing little book that takes place in a halfway house for "nuts" in Miami. Whether they are mentally challenged, old and rejected, or need medication, the residents have been housed here. The owner does not follow state rules and pockets his extra profits, food is poor, sanitation poor, residents poor.

But hope--just hope--seems able to save the problems of two people.

(view spoiler)
Rachel Smalter Hall
The Halfway House came as a total surprise to me -- I was straightening some books in the library and stumbled across this thin volume that just begged to be picked up.

I'm not sure why, but I really like stories narrated by nutcases. Especially when they're nutcases due to completely absurd socio-political circumstances. There's a rare kind of honesty in that kind of voice. This was short, true, cruel & hilarious. Reminded me of stories by Bukowski, Burroughs or Thompson -- but boiled down
For a short book, it packs quite a punch. It is heavy and thought provoking. Guillermo Rosales gives us insight into the life of the mentally unstable. The characters are all detestable for one or more reasons, yet they are all intriguing. We follow William, a Cuban exile, as he is sent to live in a halfway house in Miami. "Nothing more can be done." The writing is amazing- it is translated from Spanish and makes me wish I could read it as Rosales orriginally wrote it.
Feb 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: latin-america
A short and seemingly simple tale about a Cuban immigrant living in a nuthouse. The conditions are despicable and the characters are all sad saps injected with the slightest amount of humor. William becomes enamored with the new girl after a strange first encounter and plans his escape from the halfway house with her in tow. Tragic and affecting.
Feb 05, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I knew it was going to be sad but the amount of cruelty is what shocked me. I was surprised to say the least. That's all I can say for right now, I have a headache from reading it so fast. Don't you hate that?
Sep 11, 2009 marked it as triedtoread  ·  review of another edition
This is really good, but so unsettling that I am going to have to turn it back after only getting one-third read. Maybe some summer when I am off work I can try it again.
Bryan Crumpley
Really great novella but I feel like I need to take a shower after reading it. Not for the faint of heart.
This is a powerful book by a brilliant Cuban writer but the degradation and hopelessness it depicted was simply too depressing for me.
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Rosales was a Cuban novelist. A double exile, writing in reaction both to Cuba's totalitarian regime and to the indifference of Cuban-American exiles bent on achieving the American Dream, Rosales created some of the best Cuban literature of the second half of the twentieth century.

Born in Havana, Rosales was a lifelong misfit diagnosed with schizophrenia. A journalist and writer while still in