Book Review: The Tragedy of Fidel Castro


Tragedy of Fidel Castro

The Tragedy of Fidel Castro

Author: João Cerqueira

Publisher: River Grove Books

Review by: Jd Banks

Placing God, Christ, JFK, and Fidel Castro into the same book makes for one blasphemous ride—and The Tragedy of Fidel Castro does that. The Tragedy of Fidel Castro puts readers into the shoes of JFK, the kingly leader of capitalistic U.S., and Fidel Castro, the tyrannical commandant of Socialistic Cuba, for one last battle over their ideals. Satirical comedy and “politics” ensue, giving readers a taste of an alternative history from the viewpoint of Portuguese author, João Cerqueira.

Although this book has an alternative history to Fidel Castro’s story, The Tragedy of Fidel Castro doesn’t take an alternative path to today’s problems. The Tragedy of Fidel Castro isn’t afraid to say, “There are issues with religion mixing with politics! There are capitalistic pursuits in government!” When the words aren’t saying it, the scenes—Castro meeting a power-hungry monk, JFK picking a spy’s brain, and the Padristas fighting the Putistas—yell it out like a battle cry. For venturing into honest comedy, Cerqueira deserves respect.

The original book, A Tragédia de Fidel Castro, may well be more satisfying than its English variant. The comedy is from a different cultural and linguistic nature. Many English-only readers won’t understand the jokes woven between Cerqueira’s metaphors. In Spanish or Portuguese, stories are laced with exaggerations and raw, poetic language. Serious English-only readers won’t get Cerqueira’s perspective either and questions similar to, “Why is Fidel Castro a hero?” will come up. For readers who take religion too seriously—especially extreme religio-lites—The Tragedy of Fidel Castro in Spanish, Portuguese, or English would create a mountain of hate mail. “How dare you put Jesus and God on the same level as those pagan gods!”

If readers are looking for a funny, political-edged book brimming with religious jabs, The Tragedy of Fidel Castro is one book to read.


100 years of solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

Blubber Island author, Ismael Galvan, shares his take on Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude from the viewpoint of a Chicano.




I have discovered a writer who didn’t write a story with words, but wove a mysterious living thing from strands of his soul. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez is a book that hardly requires additional praise. It was awarded the Nobel Prize, has been translated in every major language, and is considered one of the first major works of magical realism. What can I add that hasn’t already been said? It’s a waste of time to write a review, and so I’ll try instead to write about the experience I had.

To give you a little background, the story is about the founding and collapse of an imaginary town named Macondo, whose existence is intertwined with the bloodline of the man that founded it. Immediately the storytelling quality mixed with real historical events reminded me of the way my grandparents told us stories. It starts off as a realistic…

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You don’t know the fear of mediocrity and how it haunts one. You are clueless as to how it swoops down on you, bending your shoulders in a stoop, making you subservient to a hollowness that begins, mysteriously, somewhere right inside you and then grows: it blooms on the misery that you have carefully hidden in nooks and corners. You don’t know how it feels, when it finally descends on a person, taking prey a being that is already resigned.

You don’t know the kind of life one has to live through to be so afraid of being swept away. You don’t know the constant fear that clouds one’s vision each morning that makes it hard to smile and welcome the day.

You don’t know. Hopefully, you won’t ever get to know.

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Sounds like a really cool and creative fiction contest!

K. A. Laity


An inspiration I had last year and I repeat it now: a contest to celebrate brevity in fiction. Write a story that fits on a postcard! Send it to me. I’ll choose my favourite and give it a prize — let’s say $25. Entries open now until 1st May, 2013. All postcards I have received through that date will be in the running — yes, from anyone anywhere in the world. My choice will be entirely capricious and not at all fair as it will be based on my own tastes. Yes, I’m sure the postcard itself could figure into my decision, so choose wisely. Stories remain your copyright, though you must allow me to post them here if I’m of a mind to do so (I will certainly post the winner). Winner to be announced within five days of the end of the contest. Failure to respond to my…

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