Ep #87 – Guillermo Cabrera Infante: Memories of an Invented City

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A sound portrait of Cuban writer Guillermo Cabrera Infante, a one-time leader in the Cuban cultural revolution who fell from favor and went into exile in London in 1965.

Intense and compelling, Cabrera Infante was passionate about cinema, satire, puns, tongue twisters, and about his lost love — Cuba. In 1967 he wrote his best-known work — Three Trapped Tigers — a steamy, experimental journey into 1950s nightlife in Havana.

In the 1970s he suffered a massive mental breakdown and was treated with electroshock and lithium.

He was the author of over a dozen books, translated James Joyce’s Dubliners into Spanish, and wrote a screenplay adaptation of Under Volcano and the script for the film Vanishing Point.

Cabrera Infante’s cinematic, jazz-like writing, comes to life in this story rich with music and interviews with cinematographer Nestor Almendros, painter Jesse Fernandez, activist Saul Landau, and the writer himself. Actors Lazaro Perez, and Ilka Tanya Payan are heard in dramatizations from Cabrera Infante’s acclaimed novel, “Tres Triestes Tigres.”

Cabrera Infante lived in London with his wife Miriam Gomez until his death in 2005.

Produced by The Kitchen Sisters as part of NPR’s series Faces, Mirrors, Masks: Twentieth Century Latin American Fiction.

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