Set in the same Cuban-American milieu as last year's Home Again, this frantically funny, near-slapstick tale of clashing...

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TRISTAN AND THE HISPANICS

Set in the same Cuban-American milieu as last year's Home Again, this frantically funny, near-slapstick tale of clashing cultures and family intrigues is sharp and effective as door-slamming farce, less so when taking itself seriously. Painfully self-conscious Yale freshman Tristan Granados is the WASP grandson of Pinpin Granados, a well-known Cuban-American writer. Upon Pinpin's death in Florida, Tristan's father--long estranged from his own--delegates Tristan to sell Pinpin's house and have the body cremated. But Tristan's Park-Avenue/Ivy-League upbringing has not equipped him to deal with his volatile, working-class Cuban relatives, and his intentions are waylaid. At the airport in Tampa, dozens wait to greet him, all wanting some inheritance from Pinpin. Tristan becomes the proprietary guest of scheming, childish, but lovable family elder Uncle Tom-Tom, who plots to have a real funeral instead of a nontraditional cremation. After casually attempting insurance fraud with Tristan's rented car, Uncle Tom-Tom brings him to Pinpin's house, where more relatives await. Besieged, Tristan finally finds time alone in Pinpin's office, where he reads computer files, effectively summoning the spirit of the late writer, and confers by phone with his liberal black girlfriend. Slowly, against his parents' wishes, Tristan is wheedled into a traditional, religious funeral, allowing the novel's slightly contrived climax when they come to Tampa and must be told. Sharp and funny, with fine eye and ear, Yglesias spares neither Cuban nor WASP, spearing all but Tristan's girlfriend and Pinpin himself: serving as the offstage moral center, they must, but fail to, support the novel's entire weight. Fast and savage, then, if not all that was intended.

Pub Date: March 1, 1988

ISBN: 1558853626

Page Count: -

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1988