Adios Muchachos Paperback – May 1 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Fun, fast and intelligent, this devilishly charming import gives pulp fiction a good name. Hailed as one of the best Latin writers, Uruguayan-born Chavarr¡a is well known throughout Europe as well as in Latin America. He has won literary prizes around the world, including the 1992 Dashiell Hammett Award; this able translation by Carlos Lopez is the first to bring Chavarr¡a to an English-speaking audience. The story, a madcap caper full of twisted sex, devious schemes and high-rolling hijinks, also showcases Chavarr¡a's considerable scholarly research into prostitution. When Alicia, a crafty, bicycle-riding Havana hooker in present-day Cuba, meets Victor, a convicted bank robber masquerading as an upstanding businessman, they quickly realize each other's mutually nefarious motives and wind up in a business pact that leads to larceny, kidnapping and death. Despite the dark subject matter, the winking delivery provides comic surges as reliably as an amusement park ride. Readers are kept off balance by surprise twists and rolling punches but riveted by the sheer force of curiosity and entertainment. Linguistic and cultural tidbits illuminate the intelligence at work behind the bawdy and raw story, while the narrative reveals the exploitative nature of economic forces at work in Cuba. Lines blur between victim and victimizer as Chavarr¡a reveals a symbiosis in which wealthy foreigners exploit the country's resources (from sunken galleons to beautiful women) and the Cubans in turn exploit foreigners' resources. But Chavarr¡a never loses sight of his goal: to deliver an energetic hustle that will leave readers clamoring for more. (June)Forecast: The campy, vintage-style cover painting featuring Alicia posing provocatively on her bicycle will catch the eye of fans of the pulp genre; a dip between the covers will do the rest.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Celebrated in Latin America for his noir detective fiction, Uruguayan author Chavarr!a makes his English-language debut with this fast-paced novel, set in Cuba. Featuring Alicia, a bicycle-riding prostitute, and Victor, a Canadian financier with a shady past and a few current secrets, Adi?s Muchachos spins the tale of a caper gone awry, where no one is particularly bad and everyone is on the take. Castro's Havana has not appeared this sunny in many years, nor have its crooks been this good-natured. There is an accidentally dead Dutch millionaire, a man with a nose so large that he wears a mask to hide it when he makes love, a recipe for smoked eels in mango sauce, and a defective Chinese bicycle. Mixed together, these ingredients make a zesty Cuban paella of a novel that's impossible to put down. This is a great read, recommended for public libraries. Andrea Caron Kempf, Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, KS
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Top Customer Reviews
In Havana, Cuba, Alicia literally pedals her wares as a bicycle hooker. However, she isnï¿½t simply out for money. She views each ï¿½clientï¿½ as a prospective ticket out of her poverty-laden life via marriage or a long-term commitment. With the help of her pragmatic mother, Margarita, she seduces her johns with food and drink prior to their sampling of her sexual wares. Into this set up wanders her latest john, Victor King. Victor is involved in hunting for treasures on shipwrecks around the island. The people backing him are extremely wealthy. At first Victor uses Alicia for his own purposes. Later he proposes using her for his plan entailing voyeurism. However, a very unfortunate accident might possibly, with a bit of scheming, leave Alicia and Victor extremely wealthy. The question is, can they pull it off by outwitting the wealthy backers?
The rampant descriptions of blatant sex would preclude placing this book among the ranks of the cozies. For those who enjoy hard edged humor, this book will very well fit the bill. The characters, all despicable creations are a pure delight. In spite of their immorality, the reader will find them quite sympathetic. Interest never wanes as the reader roots for Victor and Alicia to succeed in their deception.Read more ›
Well, I shouldn't say what happens midway through the book, if only because it is so surprising and outlandish that it should be experienced without any lead-in. Suffice it to say that, quite suddenly, one finds oneself in a standard crime caper novel of the shaggy dog variety. The author's style metamorphoses into another genre, and the lovely Alicia is relegated to a subordinate role.
Only the ironic ending keeps me from downgrading the book to three stars. Daniel Chavarria obviously has talent as a writer, and has some of the juiciest sex scenes in recent literature, but he is no master of the genre. Paco Taibo, whose praise appears on the back, stands head and shoulders above him with his Hector Belascoaran Shayne novels. Yet I suspect that Chavarria is still young and has room to grow, and I look forward to reading his other works.
Chavarría, we are told on the back cover, spends half of the year in his native Uruguay and half in Italy. Where does Cuba fit into this equation? I suggest hardly at all. The novel gives no real hint of its surroundings and could easily have been written by someone who has never visited the island. If you want true noirs with local Cuban color, try the excellent José Latour. His "Outcast" has already been published in the U.S. to great acclaim, and his "Havana Best Friends" recently appeared in England. The latter, while also a crime caper, has a dozen believable and well drawn characters, whereas "Adios Muchachos" has only a few caricatures for characters.
Of course, if you really want to experience life in Cuba vicariously, try "Dirty Havana Trilogy," by Pedro Juan Gutiérrez. It is harrowing, brutal, and disgusting, but it is one of the most powerful and absorbing novels to be published in the last few years.
Most recent customer reviews
I had read very optimistic comments on this book and its author in the New York Times for some time, so I finally decided to get into the Latin mood. Read morePublished on Feb. 5 2004 by Buenoslibros.es
I'm only 1/3 of the way through this but already I know that I'll be buying this for lots of friends. Simply outstanding. Read morePublished on Sept. 2 2002 by B. R. Palmer
The stars tell it all. The future is not happening for this book. But I don't want to be a shrew, so I'll just say, I don't like to be bored while reading and leave it at that.Published on Aug. 2 2002 by Evelyn O. Simon
I'm reviewing this not because I'm a big mystery fan (I like them only if they're very special, which this book definitely is not) or because "Adios Muchachos" won an... Read morePublished on July 30 2002
Daniel Chavarria's Adios Muchachos is a fun little book exploring the world of prostitutes, unseemly businessmen and death in post-revolutionary Cuba. Read morePublished on May 5 2002 by Oliver Willis
This book was a big disappointment to me. The first third of the book is interesting but afterwards it all goes downhill from there. Read morePublished on April 8 2002 by Amazon Customer
Of course it's pulp fiction. The huge majority of books published today are pulp fiction. And so what? The difference is that Adios Muchachos is WELL WRITTEN pulp fiction. Read morePublished on Sept. 2 2001 by grahamer
This punchy little bit of pulp crime follows the schemes of Alicia, a Cuban prostitute looking to rope a millionaire husband, and Victor, a bank-robber turned executive in Dutch... Read morePublished on July 17 2001 by A. Ross