The Halfway House (Paperback)
“This posthumous translation of Rosales, a Cuban-American writer who committed suicide in 1993, delivers a raw, powerful story set in a Miami home for the mentally ill… It’s a frightening, nihilistic cousin of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”—Publishers Weekly
Never before available in English, The Halfway House is a trip to the darkest corners of the human condition. Humiliations, filth, stench, and physical abuse comprise the asphyxiating atmosphere of a halfway house for indigents in Miami where, in a shaken mental state, the writer William Figueras lives after his exile from Cuba. He claims to have gone crazy after the Cuban government judged his first novel “morose, pornographic, and also irreverent, because it dealt harshly with the Communist Party,” and prohibited its publication. By the time he arrives in Miami twenty years later, he is a “toothless, skinny, frightened guy who had to be admitted to a psychiatric ward that very day” instead of the ready-for-success exile his relatives expected to welcome and receive among them. Placed in a halfway house, with its trapped bestial inhabitants and abusive overseers, he enters a hell. Romance appears in the form of Frances, a mentally fragile woman and an angel, with whom he tries to escape in this apocalyptic classic of Cuban literature.
“Behind the hardly one hundred pages,” Canarias Diario stated, “is the work of a tireless fabulist, a writer who delights in language, extracting verbs and adjectives which are powerful enough to stop the reader in his tracks.”
About the Author
Guillermo Rosales (b. Cuba 1946 – d. Miami, 1993) grew up in revolutionary Cuba where his father served in Cuba’s diplomatic corps. He became a journalist and then a promising novelist. Yet, his work was denounced as “morose, pornographic,and irreverent” by the Communist Party, which led to his first nervous breakdown. Forced to leave the country for Miami, he suffered from schizophrenia, was in and out of psychiatric wards, then tragically, after destroying most of his unpublished manuscripts, shot himself at age 47.
Anna Kushner was born in Philadelphia and first traveled to Cuba in 1999. Beside her “commanding translation” (Words Without Borders) of The Halfway House (ND, 2009), her writing and translations have appeared in numerous other print and web publications.
Perfect for the pool and beyond.
— Joy Tipping - Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Confronting an impassive world, Guillermo Rosales has left us this painful, violent, and lyrical testament.
— Le Figaro
The characters in the halfway house are tragically beautiful and unforgettable.
— Susan Salter Reynolds - Los Angeles Times
It seems almost impossible to find so much cruelty in barely one hundred pages; but it’s just that behind these terrible and moving one hundred pages there are thousands of pages, millions of sentences, that reveal an entirely destroyed universe. Indispensable.
— Revista Leer
The real brilliance is…its portrait of a man...reduced to the very cruelty he had tried to avoid.
— Jascha Hoffman - The National
This book is a shot of light through the darkness of human misery.
— Jeff Waxman - Three Percent
A masterful kick-in-the-teeth…savagely beautiful.
— Bill Marx - The World, Public Radio International
Hope inevitably implodes into disappointment, and love…curdles with the possibility of destruction.
— Abigail Deutsch - The Literary Review
We are fortunate to have this award-winning book finally available to English-speaking readers. Very powerful and gripping.
— Bessy Reyna - Multicultural Review
With The Halfway House, Rosales joins the pantheon of the very best Cuban writers, José Lezama Lima, Pinera, and Reinald Arenas.
— Thomas McGonigle - Review of Contemporary Fiction