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Spectacle of the Rats and Owls

Malcolm Deas, 2 June 1988

Against All Hope 
by Armando Valladares, translated by Andrew Harley.
Hamish Hamilton, 381 pp., £12.95, July 1986, 0 241 11806 9
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Castro 
by Peter Bourne.
Macmillan, 332 pp., £14.95, April 1987, 0 333 44593 7
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Fidel: A Critical Portrait 
by Tad Szulc.
Hutchinson, 585 pp., £14.95, June 1987, 0 09 172602 6
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Castro and the Cuban Labour Movement: Statecraft and Society in a Revolutionary Period (1959-1961) 
by Efren Cordova.
University Press of America, 354 pp., £24.65, April 1988, 0 8191 5952 2
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Fidel and Religion: Castro talks on revolution and religion with Frei Betto 
translated by the Cuban Centre for Translation.
Simon and Schuster, 314 pp., £14.95, September 1987, 9780671641146
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... Cuba: Order and Revolution of 1970: it is worth bearing in mind that the present state of the Cuban economy can only be sustained by the receipt of something like half of all Soviet aid to the so-called Third World. And now there is Armando Valladares’s Against All Hope, a distinguished prison memoir. At one stage in his long imprisonment, Valladares ...

Infante’s Inferno

G. Cabrera Infante, 18 November 1982

Legacies: Selected Poems 
by Heberto Padilla, translated by Alastair Reid and Andrew Hurley.
Faber, 179 pp., £8.75, September 1982, 0 374 18472 0
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... left and what’s right too. This tyrant, as you might have guessed (what with Padilla being a Cuban poet in exile), is called Fidel Castro, or, as the Times insists on calling him, Dr Castro. If they ever erect a statue to Fidel Castro in Britain (why not – after all, he rules in the name of Marx and this German machine of hatred has his statue ...

Little Dog

Alan Milward, 5 January 1989

Munich: The Eleventh Hour 
by Robert Kee.
Hamish Hamilton, 242 pp., £14.95, September 1988, 0 241 12537 5
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Peace for Our Time 
by Robert Rothschild.
Brassey, 366 pp., £16.95, September 1988, 0 08 036264 8
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A Class Divided: Appeasement and the Road to Munich 1938 
by Robert Shepherd.
Macmillan, 323 pp., £16.95, September 1998, 0 333 46080 4
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... most time and space was the Munich agreement of 1938, although it was subsequently driven off the centre pages by Kristallnacht and the Jewish pogroms in Germany. Robert Kee’s book has its origins in his commemorative TV documentary and the book by Robert Shepherd, producer of Channel 4’s A Week in Politics, reads like the script of another ...

Maaaeeestro!

Sanjay Subrahmanyam: Gabriel García Márquez, 27 August 2009

Gabriel García Márquez: A Life 
by Gerald Martin.
Bloomsbury, 668 pp., £25, October 2008, 978 0 7475 9476 5
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... a huge public celebration, one of several the book revels in. This one was held at a convention centre in Cartagena on 26 March 2007, in the presence of a large number of political actors, including the president and four ex-presidents of Colombia, as well as the king of Spain. It was to honour the life and achievements of the 79-year-old García ...

Wasps and all

Philip Horne, 8 December 1988

A Chinese Summer 
by Mark Illis.
Bloomsbury, 135 pp., £11.95, October 1988, 0 7475 0257 9
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Three Uneasy Pieces 
by Patrick White.
Cape, 59 pp., £7.95, October 1988, 0 224 02594 5
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The Captain and the Enemy 
by Graham Greene.
Reinhardt, 189 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 1 871061 05 9
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View of Dawn in the Tropics 
by G. Cabrera Infante, translated by Suzanne Jill Levine.
Faber, 163 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 0 571 15186 8
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The House of Stairs 
by Barbara Vine.
Viking, 282 pp., £11.95, September 1988, 0 670 82414 3
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... and leads them off. The ferocious observation let loose on this grotesque scene, however, at whose centre sits ‘the Contessa del Castelmarino, alias Gladys (Baby) Horsfall of Gundy, New South Wales’, White’s bosomy Dame Edna figure, recalls less Yeats or ‘East Coker’ than the rather cracked Eliot of ‘Hysteria’ – with a twist of Carry on humour ...

Semiotics Right and Left

Christopher Norris, 4 September 1986

On Signs: A Semiotics Reader 
edited by Marshall Blonsky.
Blackwell, 536 pp., £27.50, September 1985, 0 631 10261 2
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... for consumption by the arbiters of North American ‘radical’ opinion. Desnoes has an essay on Cuban photography which shows how the dominant conventions invade even the most determined attempts to throw off their stifling cultural grasp. One image in particular brings home the fact of this struggle for mastery over meanings and codes. It is a Chicano ...

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