The Tragedy of Fidel Castro by João Cerqueira. River Grove Books, 2012. 188 pages. Ebook.
**I received a copy of this book from the author, João Cercqueira, in exchange for an honest review.**
This was a hefty read. Not in length, as it comes in at a slight 188 pages, but rather in content, for this book is overflowing with political and religious satire and complex writing.
You are warned that this is a fictional book from the very start of the novel, and that fact should definitely not be forgotten. This is a very hard book to summarize, so I will provide a link to Goodreads for those who wish to read a quick summary of the book before continuing this review. If not, let's dive in!
The main characters of this book are JFK, Fidel Castro, God, and Jesus - but none of them are the real people they're modeled after since this book is extremely satirical, and I certainly found myself laughing along the way at their antics. Just the thought of Fidel Castro and JFK in a heated out-gifting war is hilarious. Our immediate introduction to this book is a bit daunting and some disorienting as we try to figure out exactly what Jesus and God are doing and talking about, but eventually, as Fidel and JFK are introduced, we are slowly introduced to the main story and themes themselves.
This is not a light, easy read - this is a book where every single sentence is important and holds important meanings, and some of these sentences are long. These sentences became a bit hard to follow at times and I often found myself rereading sentences or paragraphs to make sure I understood what was being said. I've read a fair share of satirical books and publications, but never anything quite like The Tragedy of Fidel Castro. Cerqueira is an obviously talented writer who knows exactly what he wants to say and wastes no words in saying it.
Cerqueira is fair in his satire, for he takes aim at the capitalism of America, the communism in Cuba, people in general, and a fair amount of different religions. Everything was equally up for the mocking, and I loved it. He incorporates striking elements of magical realism that truly lights up the novel and brings life to it.
This isn't exactly a book that I would pick up for pleasure, however. This book is definitely not for anyone, but if you're feeling snarky and mocking and want some good satire, this is a great book to pick up. Overall, I am giving The Tragedy of Fidel Castro four stars, for although is wasn't exactly my cup of tea, I still greatly appreciated the strong themes and writing, as well as the intricate characters Cerqueira has created.