IN THE FIST OF THE REVOLUTION by Jose Yglesias

IN THE FIST OF THE REVOLUTION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Another virtuoso exercise in subtle simplicity from the author of the much-acclaimed The Goodbye Land (1967). Yglesias chose a country town in Oriente Province he'd passed through in 1960 as the source for his transcript of acquaintances and conversations. As a charming but anomalous Spanish-American, he came to know doctors, would-be exiles, Party members, workers (but not peasants), teenagers lusting after Anglo cars and pants, and the unhappy Hungarian wife of a Cuban machismo-minded bully. Some complain about rationing and inefficiency; others recall Batista's terror and United Fruit's racism (one of the few subjects on which Yglesias submits an interpretive conclusion is the disappearance of prejudice); almost all support the Revolution; everyone is more than willing to discuss sexual mores and carnal adventures. It all reads like a very good, very low-keyed novel with oblique political significance, conspicuous psychological acumen, and a Gogolian perception of the peculiarities and distinctions of the Cuban national character. But like any good transcript, it must be read to be appreciated. ""The first annual collection of the best from the literary magazines"" (the 1966 issues of some three hundred publications) consists of nine stories, ten essays, and thirty poems, the categories selected respectively by John Hawkes, Walker Percy, William Styron; William Alfred, Robert Brustein, Benjamin DeMott, F. W. Dupee, Susan Sontag, John Thompson; John Ashbery, Robert Creeley, James Dickey. Some name authors--W. H. Auden, Allen Ginsberg, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Ezra Pound, John Crowe Ransom. Howard Nemerov -- along with a number whose work has not received wide circulation previously. The volume is the first of a series to be published annually under a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Pub Date: May 14th, 1968
Publisher: Pantheon