Akashic Books; 1 edition (October 14, 1999)
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With this important new release, Akashic Books introduces readers in the United States to Jos Latour and the harsh, tense, caustic tradition of Cuban Noir, of which he is an established master. The first Cuban crime novel to be written in English and published in the U.S., Outcast is a smart, multi-voiced, savagely unsentimental tale that blends cultural critique, personal discovery, and explosive violence to reveal the callous, impersonal dysfunction of both contemporary Cuban socialism and its self-congratulatory, free-market alternative in Miami. The son of a Cuban mother and a U.S. laborer stationed on the island before the Revolution, the novels protagonist, Elliot Steil, is a down-and-out school teacher in Havana. Quietly resigned to the tedium and simplicity of his life, he has, like many of his fellow Havanans, systematically distanced himself from all aspirations for a better future. Steils hopes suddenly resurface when he is offered a "once-in-a-lifetime" chance to escape his current situation by a mysterious visitor to the island who claims to be a friend of Steils late father. When the stranger quickly turns from savior to would-be assassin, Steil finds himself perilously immersed in the waters of the Florida Straits and in the images of a past that he had spent most of his adult life trying to forget. Steil survives the ordeal, but his journey to find his betrayer and to discover the mystery of his bicultural past lure him into the heart of the underworld of Miami. In the end, the tangle of deceit, corruption, and mutual interest that binds Steil and his enemies results in a dramatic stalemate that perfectly embodies the complexity, and the cynicism, of late twentieth century capitalism.