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In the early 1970s, friends Gabriel García Márquez, Augusto Roa Bastos and Alejo Carpentier reached a joint decision: they would each write a novel about the dictatorships then wreaking misery in Latin America. García Márquez went on to write The Autumn of the Patriarch and Roa Bastos I, the Supreme. The third novel in this remarkable trinity is Reasons of State, hailed as the most significant novel ever to come out of Cuba.
Inexplicably out of print for years, it tells the tale of the dictator of an unnamed Latin American country who has been living the life of luxury in high-society Paris. When news reaches him of a coup at home, he rushes back and crushes it with brutal military force. But returning to Paris he is given a chilly welcome, and learns that photographs of the atrocities have been circulating among his well-to-do friends.
Meanwhile World War I has broken out, and another rebellion forces the dictator back across the ocean. As he struggles with the Marxist forces beginning to find footing in his own country, Carpentier constructs a masterful and biting satire of the new world order.
“Carpentier’s writing has the power and range of a cathedral organ on the eve of the Resurrection.” –The New Yorker
“Carpentier’s energy is gigantic and pell-mell, sweeping colossi on top of each other with ruthless, contemptuous daring.” –The Yale Review
“A writer to be classed with Thomas Mann and W.H. Hudson.” –San Francisco Chronicle