THE FALLEN. Carlos Manuel Álvarez

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A powerful, unsettling portrait of ordinary family life in Cuba, Carlos Manuel Álvarez’s debut novel The Fallen is a masterful portrayal of a society in free fall. Diego, the son, is disillusioned and bitter about the limited freedoms his country offers him. Mariana, the mother, is unwell and forced to relinquish her control over the home to her daughter, Maria, who has left school and is working as a chambermaid in one of the state-owned tourist hotels. The father, Armando, is a committed revolutionary who is sickened by the corruption he perceives all around him. In meticulously charting the disintegration of a family, The Fallen offers a poignant reflection on contemporary Cuba and the clash of the ardent idealism of the old guard with the jaded pragmatism of the young.