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Guillermo Cabrera Infante: Vista del amanecer en el trópico (View of Dawn in the Tropics)

Just to confuse you, the original version of Tres tristes tigres (Three Trapped Tigers) had this title. This book, however, is completely different from the original version and from Tres tristes tigres (Three Trapped Tigers), except that both are set in and, indeed, are about Cuba. Confused? Good.

If you are not confused by now, there is more confusion. This is not a novel. Indeed, I am not sure how to categorise it, except to say it is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand Cuba and her history up to the time of Castro. But this is certainly not a history book. Rather it is a series of episodes from Cuban history, told in narrative fashion. There are no names. We may be able to determine a few of the characters if we know something about Cuban history but Cabrera Infante is not here to give us a straightforward high school history lesson. Short – often less than one page – excerpts from Cuban history pepper these pages, showing the brutality, the scant disregard for human life and foreign intervention throughout Cuba’s history. You do not need to know anything about Cuban history to see the picture Cabrera Infante paints.

Publishing history

First published in 1974 by Seix Barral, Barcelona
First English translation 1978 by Harper & Row
Translated by Suzanne Jill Levine