The Tragedy of Fidel Castro is a tale that makes you stop and enjoy the imagery presented along side of the story. The book takes a fictional and lyrical approach to some of the world’s most famous men and makes these larger than life figures relatable and easy to access. When the main characters of your novel are Fidel Castro, JFK, God and Christ, in fictional portrayals of course, there is not only a lot of story to be had, but also a lot of potential character development to play with. The character of Fatima is also enjoyable, yet I did not feel that she was as fully developed as the other major players were. It is interesting too see how Cerqueira portrays both Che Guevara and J.E. Hoover in the book as well. Che is only mentioned in passing, but it is curious to see how Fidel’s feelings towards his one time friend come out in the story. There are also a few bit players involved in the story as well and at times I had a hard time discerning exactly what their purpose or role in the story really was.
The story is centered on preventing war between Fidel Castro and JFK and the heavenly powers that be are called upon by Fatima to prevent this event from happening. There were times in the text that I found myself completely lost with virtually no idea what was happening in the story line because the story does jump around, but I was enjoying the background images and the writing style of Cerqueira so being lost didn’t completely bother me. As a reader that normally does not enjoy an over descriptive amount of detail, I was surprised that I did enjoy the large amount of details presented.
While I am not sure that I can pick apart the particular goal of this story, I did ultimately enjoy the action. The first half is a bit slow until the drama and upheaval between Fidel and his countrymen begins, and then again when God and Christ get involved in the relationship of Fidel and JFK. The last half of The Tragedy of Fidel Castro contains an unexpected guest that meets with Fidel and adds an entirely new dimension. The tensions between JFK and Fidel come to a head in almost biblical proportions and the dramatic battle scene that takes place really adds a twist. The story is different and a bit magical, which adds a fanciful perspective to history that makes you use your imagination. Cerqueira certainly has an interesting choice of characters, but he does make the story work.
Lauren Cannavino is a graduate student, freelance writer, wine lover, and avid reader. Random musings can be found over at www.goldiesays.com.
Review copy was provided by Joao Cerqueira. Compensation was received but in no way influenced the thoughts and opinions expressed in this review.