Florida LaTour, Jose Outcast

ISBN 13: 9780060184889

Outcast

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9780060184889: Outcast

The Edgar Award-nominated Outcast is a sophisticated, brutally honest, and gripping suspense novel that delves into the highly charged underworlds of modern-day Havana and Miami.

Elliot Steil, the son of a Cuban mother and an American-born laborer living on the island before the revolution, is a down-on-his-luck schoolteacher in Havana. Like so many of his fellow Havanans, he has come to accept his rather dull life and for the most part has given up hoping for a better future. But unexpectedly he is offered the opportunity to escape when a man appears on the island, claiming to be an old friend of Elliot's deceased father. The man offers to take Elliot to the United States, but it isn't long before he reveals his ulterior motives and Elliot is left to die in the dangerous waters of the Florida Straits. It is there that Elliot begins to relive the events of his life that have haunted him since his childhood. He is miraculously rescued by a family onboard a makeshift raft and soon after arriving in Miami begins his search for the man who betrayed him. As the search immerses him deeper and deeper into Miami's darker side of crime and corruption, he slowly unravels the mystery of his bicultural past and its links to the man who knew his father many decades earlier.

Outcast is at once a brilliantly atmospheric and stunningly written literary achievement and the dazzling American debut of one of Latin America's most accomplished crime writers.

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Review:

The recent explosion of Cuba-mania means that people who don't speak a word of Spanish are singing along with Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer, and the rest of the Buena Vista wunder-octogenarians; that Cuban cigars are more chic than clichéd; and that José Latour, popular Cuban thriller writer, is publishing his first English-language novel. Set partly in Havana and partly in Miami, Outcast will provide many Anglophone noir fans with their first glimpse of that genre as practiced in a country still largely tantalizing in its inaccessibility.

Elliot Steil, born of a Cuban mother to a long-vanished American father, may not love his life in Havana (as an English teacher earning the equivalent of $2 a month, who would?), but he loves the city itself for its tattered elegance and the warmth of its people. His response to the communist political philosophy that underpins and overlies Cuba is one of generally resigned apathy. The arrival of Dan Gastler, who claims to be an old friend of Elliot's father, catapults Elliot from apathy to action when Gastler offers the teacher a chance to escape to the U.S. on his sailboat.

But Gastler shoves Elliot overboard mid-journey, leaving him to die in the Florida Straits. The serendipitous arrival of a family of Cuban rafters prevents him from drowning, but does little to assuage Elliot's baffled fury. The answers come slowly, as the teacher tackles a dual mission: to survive financially and psychologically as a Cuban refugee in Miami, and to uncover the identity and motive of his attacker. The former pulls him gradually into the city's grungy criminal underbelly, and the latter entangles him in a treacherous web of bitter family history and political machinations--with deadly consequences.

Though Latour is no Vladimir Nabokov (his grasp of English, while certainly commendable, doesn't prevent a host of bizarre phrasings from jarring the reader's eye and ear), Outcast is at heart a workmanlike thriller. Its innate straightforwardness, however, is often at odds with Latour's efforts to fancy things up with arbitrary chronological leaps and shifts in narrative perspective, which undermine the novel's pacing and plot. But for readers looking for a glimpse into Cuban American life through a rarely used prism, Outcast will deliver the goods. --Kelly Flynn

About the Author:

Jos? Latour was born in Havana, Cuba, where he won his first literary prize aged thirteen. Outcast is his seventh novel and his first written in English. He has travelled extensively in the United States, Eastern and Western Europe, Canada and Mexico, and is the vice president of the Latin American division of the International Association of Crime Writers. He has two sons and a daughter and lives with his wife and family in Havana.

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LaTour, Jose
Published by William Morrow & Company, Scranton, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. (2001)
ISBN 10: 0060184884 ISBN 13: 9780060184889
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Book Description William Morrow & Company, Scranton, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., 2001. Hard Cover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: Good. Dust jacket wear, small rip on the back of dust jacket. The first Cuban crime novel to be written in English and published in the U.S., Outcast is a smart, multi-voiced, savagely unsentimental tale that blends cultural critique, personal discovery, and explosive violence to reveal the callous, impersonal dysfunction of both contemporary Cuban socialism and its self-congratulatory, free-market alternative in Miami. The son of a Cuban mother and a U.S. laborer stationed on the island before the Revolution, the novel's protagonist, Elliot Steil, is a down-and-out school teacher in Havana. Quietly resigned to the tedium and simplicity of his life, he has, like many of his fellow Havanans, systematically distanced himself from all aspirations for a better future. Steil's hopes suddenly resurface when he is offered a "once-in-a-lifetime" chance to escape his current situation by a mysterious visitor to the island who claims to be a friend of Steil's late father. When the stranger quickly turns from savior to would-be assassin, Steil finds himself perilously immersed in the waters of the Florida Straits and in the images of a past that he had spent most of his adult life trying to forget. Steil survives the ordeal, but his journey to find his betrayer and to discover the mystery of his bicultural past lure him into the heart of Miami's Cuban underworld. In the end, the tangle of deceit, corruption, and mutual interest that binds Steil and his enemies results in a dramatic stalemate that perfectly embodies the complexity, and the cynicism, of late twentieth century capitalism. Bookseller Inventory # 000603

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Book Description William Morrow & Company 2001-02-01, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 100% Money Back Guarantee.The pages of this book are clean and unmarked. There may be some shelf wear. Bookseller Inventory # 115754

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Book Description William Morrow & Company, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. First Edition. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0060184884

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Book Description William Morrow & Company, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0060184884

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Book Description William Morrow & Company, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110060184884

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