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Roberto Quesada: Nunca entres por Miami (Never through Miami)

If you have read Big Banana (The Big Banana), you don’t have to read this book, as it is very similar. Struggling Honduran artist comes to the USA, has difficulties with immigration, finds slightly weird (but only slightly) male buddy, wonders whether to stick with girlfriend back home or take up with newly found US love and has some success with his art. The hero this time is Elías Sandoval, a sculptor. He has problem with immigration at Miami (hence the title) and when he is planning for his girlfriend, Helena, to join him, he strongly discourages her from coming through Miami. However, Helena’s widowed mother, is determined to go to Miami, as she wants to accompany her daughter and wants to see Miami. He ends up working as a busboy, where he meets Laura, who is interested in him, though he is not sure whether he is interested in her. He struggles with his sculpting and finally makes a crude sculpture out of bicycle handlebars which he calls Before the Future. Inevitably, when he does finally have an exhibition, it is that that sells (for $10,000). But the book, while quite fun, is very lightweight and far too derivative of its predecessor.

Publishing history

First published 2002 by Mondadori, Mexico City
First published in English 2002 by Arte Público Press, Houston
Translated by Patricia J Duncan