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Tsitsi Dangarembga appears in court this week, just days after her novel This Mournable Body was shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize. Read more about her July protest during a government crackdown in Zimbabwe here

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 has contributed to the New York Times, El País, BBC World, and theWashington Post. In 2017 he was included in the Bogotá39 list of the best 39 Latin American writers under 40. He divides his time between Havana and Mexico City.
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  • "Álvarez’s fittingly surreal gloss of insight on his characters’ generational divide gives the book real power. . . . [An] elegant debut."—Publishers Weekly
  • "A searing work of literary excellence. . . . Álvarez unravels this story of an imploding family-in-crisis with symmetrical precision."—Booklist, starred review
  • “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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