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The 2021 Graywolf Press African Fiction Prize is now open for submissions via Submittable through August 31, 2021.

The Fallen

A Novel
Carlos Manuel Álvarez; Translated from the Spanish by Frank Wynne
A powerful, unsettling portrait of family life in Cuba, Carlos Manuel Álvarez’s first novel is a masterful portrayal of a society in free fall. Diego, the son, is disillusioned and bitter about the limited freedoms his country offers him as he endures compulsory military service. Mariana, the mother, is unwell, prone to mysterious seizures, and forced to relinquish control over the household to her daughter, Maria, who has left school and is working as a chambermaid in a state-owned tourist hotel. The father, Armando, is a committed revolutionary, a die-hard Fidelista who is sickened by the corruption he perceives all around him. As each member of the family narrates seemingly quotidian and overlapping events, they grow increasingly at odds for reasons that remain elusive to them—each of them holding and concealing their own secrets.

In meticulously charting the disintegration of a single family, The Fallen offers a poignant reflection on contemporary Cuba and the clash of the ardent idealism of the old guard with the jaded pragmatism of the young. This is a startling and incisive debut by a radiant new voice in Latin American literature.

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A vibrant and meticulously constructed debut novel about familial and cultural breakdown

About the Author

Carlos Manuel Álvarez is the author of The Fallen. He has been included in Granta’s “Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists” as well as Bogotá39’s best Latin American writers under 40. He divides his time between Havana and Mexico City.
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Frank Wynne has translated works by authors including Michel Houellebecq, Patrick Modiano, and Virginie Despentes. His work has earned many awards, including the IMPAC Prize, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, and the Premio Valle Inclán.
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  • "A searing work of literary excellence. . . . Álvarez unravels this story of an imploding family-in-crisis with symmetrical precision."—Booklist, starred review
  • "Álvarez’s fittingly surreal gloss of insight on his characters’ generational divide gives the book real power. . . . [An] elegant debut."—Publishers Weekly
  • “Carlos Manuel Álvarez delves into intergenerational conflict within Cuba, tracking a shift in revolutionary ideals between generations of a family. The result is a multifaceted exploration of change and stagnation, told via a shifting perspective.”Vol. 1 Brooklyn
  • “Álvarez’s debut novel is slim yet contains remarkably detailed portraits of a family watching their country’s revolution creep toward failure in the 1990s. . . . The reader is pulled into a vivid story that’s tender yet never touches on sentimental. Instead, the book pulses with a vivid realism and humanity that is heightened by Wynne’s poetic translation. . . .  Álvarez has written an unnervingly subtle and effective exploration of the cost of blind idealism on families.”Kirkus Reviews
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