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e p i l o g u e
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After Night Falls
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Reinaldo Arenas is the most
inconvenient corpse in Cuban literature.
norge espinosa mendoza,
‘‘¿Otro color para una Cuba rosa?’’
In the essay ‘‘Los dichosos sesenta’’ (1989), Reinaldo Arenas addresses how
he came to write a lecture, to be delivered at a university, about one of Latin
American literature’s most important developments: the novel of the six-
ties. As he explains, he wrote the lecture while riding on a train, which was
traveling through the boring North American landscape. Not distracted by
anything he saw through his window, Arenas quickly made a list of some of
the most important novels of the 1960s: Alejo Carpentier’s El siglo de las luces
(Explosion in a Cathedral), Julio Cortázar’s Rayuela (Hopscotch), Mario Var-
gas Llosa’s La ciudad y los perros (The Time of the Hero), José Lezama Lima’s
Paradiso (Paradiso), Guillermo Cabrera Infante’s Tres tristes tigres (Three
Trapped Tigers), Gabriel García Márquez’s Cien años de soledad (One Hun-
dred Years of Solitude), and José Donoso’s El obsceno pájaro de la noche (The
Obscene Bird of Night). Arenas then ‘‘plunged’’ himself into the ‘‘fabulous’’
sixties to find an explanation for the nearly simultaneous publication of so
many novels that became ‘‘classics’’ of the so-called Latin American Boom.∞
In a series of anaphoric—and even euphoric—sentences that reference
the title of the essay, Arenas captures the excitement of the decade:
Fabulous sixties because the world had been shaken by a sexual revo-
lution and all prejudices had been swept away in one way or another.
. . . Fabulous sixties because also a musical revolution had invaded
the world and the inimitable songs of the Beatles had broken all the
barriers of incommunication, and all political obstacles, as well as
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