Guillermo Cabrera Infante

...just died in London. I got a big kick out of Tres Tristes Tigres, which I read a couple of years after it came out (which was 1967, as I recall). I was in Spain when he died; the Spanish newspaper El País went nuts over the event, with pages and pages of encomiums by friends and admirers. He was a complicated, tormented man, tormented mainly by having left Cuba and burned his bridges in a fit of pique over offended dignity. He never forgave Cuba, or himself. The odd thing is that he chose to live in England, rather than in any of the many Spanish-speaking countries where people could read him. Maybe it was a way of conserving the idiosyncracy of his prerevolutionary Cuban slang, without contaminating it by other forms of Spanish. Aside from "Tigres," which has some serious themes among the hilarious nonsense, his work is interesting mainly as linguistic curiosity & verbal playfulness. I should reread "Tigres"; if I do, I'll put a note up on my new Spanish-language weblog, Lecturas y Lectores.