Review: The Tragedy of Fidel Castro by João Cerqueira

EBOOK; 151 P.
TRANS. KAREN BENNETT & CHRIS MINGAY
RIVER GROVE BOOKS, 2013/2008
SOURCE: FROM THE AUTHOR

When God receives a request from Fátima to help prevent a war between Fidel Castro and JFK, he asks his son, Jesus, to return to Earth and diffuse the conflict. On his island, Fidel Castro faces protests on the streets and realizes that he is about to be overthrown. Alone, surrounded, and aware that the end is fast approaching, he plays his last card. Meanwhile, Christ arrives on Earth and teams up with Fátima, who is convinced she can create a miracle to avoid the final battle between JFK and Fidel Castro and save the world as we know it. At the end, something really extraordinary happens!

Humorous, rich with metaphor, and refreshingly imaginative, The Tragedy of Fidel Castro was chosen as the book-of-the-month and book-of-the-year by Os Meus Livros magazine.

The Tragedy of Fidel Castro is a political and religious satire about the war of ideas between The United States and Republic of Cuba in the 1960s. It features both J.F. Kennedy as well as Fidel Castro in their camps, the people surrounding them, as well as God and Jesus looking down at the human kind and trying to figure out if they can do anything to stop it. However, as the author mentions in the beginning of the book, all the characters in this book are fictional.

As a minor student in political studies and generally enjoying dark humour, this book sounded like it would be something that I’d enjoy. And I wasn’t wrong.  However, already based on the description, I know that The Tragedy of Fidel Castro is going to turn off some people. The book does not cater to every taste and I can imagine that some might take offence on some of the humour, especially the religious satire. However, especially in questions of political elites and democracy, I found the sarcastic tone to be on point and straight laughed out loud to some of the scenes in the book. It reminded me of Mark Twain’s Letters from the Earth and proved that pen is mightier than sword.

The book deals with many topics – giving glimpses of all kinds of different situations that the political (and religious) leaders face – that provide The Tragedy of Fidel Castro variety, but it also makes it slightly confusing as the narration moves from one character to another without any seeming connection or overlooking plot line. There were moments of sheer brilliance and scenes that pulled me straight into the world of the book, but then again, there were also parts that I felt were a bit stretched and could have been edited a bit further. The Tragedy of Fidel Castro is also one of the few translated novels I’ve read this year as it was originally published in Portuguese. I’d recommend this book to readers who enjoy reading about political figures (even if fictional) and about what could have happened in the communism-capitalism battle of ideologies.

3.5/5

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

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