The Death of Che Guevara
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In his critically acclaimed epic first novel, Jay Cantor, author of Krazy Kat and Great Neck, draws on history, myth, and his own prodigious imagination to take on the life and death of revolutionary icon Che Guevara.
In his now famous progress through modern times, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, the scion of a liberal Argentine family, abandoned a medical career to become a revolutionary. A fiery comrade of Fidel Castro’s who joined him in overthrowing the Cuban government of Baptista, Che later broke with Castro to lead a guerrilla movement in Bolivia. As the novel charts Che’s bold evolution, it also offers an incisive look at Latin America’s revolutionary struggles, an exploration of the nature of truth and storytelling, and a brilliant exegesis of the psychology of radical activisim.
Americans! The North Americans! You’re just like Raul! You both talk of nothing else! You’re obsessed with the big whale, the North Americans! Listen: We will unite all who will be united to make the revolution! Now is the hour of the furnaces and only light should be seen! GUEVARA [shouting]: And the North Americans? CASTRO: All right, damn you. If they won’t cooperate, I’ll throw them off the island! There! Is that all right with you? You have my word! GUEVARA [extending his hand]: They
their surrender in every direction, as if it were a prayer, and we were the angels descended to answer it. “Why wouldn’t you let us surrender?” one of them screamed at me angrily. “Why wouldn’t you let us surrender?” He said they’d been shouting it for half an hour. “We couldn’t hear you,” I said weakly, and I ran through the door into the moonlight and the better air. I had done my utmost. The fire had burned down. I wasn’t sure that I had told the soldier the truth. Had their voices been
Moises for the guerrillas. The miners wanted to coordinate their actions with ours, and had waited eagerly for reports on our activities. While he was still there, the party had regularly taken up collections, supposedly for the guerrillas. (Willy would like, he said, to hold that Party member’s face between his hands now. For, of course, he knew now that none of the money had reached us.) In some of the mine shafts the miners had set up shooting ranges—so they would be trained and ready to join
threatened him, but he wouldn’t stay still. I held his head harder with my hand, and he screamed. His head was like an eggshell in my palm, and I felt how easily I could have crushed it. I was angry. I didn’t feel well; my breathing was easier, but still unsteady, and my stomach churned from the feast that had been here for our arrival. But there was a more than unsettled feeling arising from my bowels, a feeling that was erotic, and very ugly, the feeling of power that I had over the doomed
teeth and mottled lips, were clear in the kerosene light. Their eyes and foreheads were in shadow. Che turned slowly towards Camba, and gestured for him to come over. When Camba bent down to speak with him, Che slapped him slowly, hard, across his skinny back. Camba coughed and fell forward onto his hands. It looked like Che was burping him! One of the men across from me pushed his felt hat back on his head, so I could see his eyes. Their best fighters, he said, had been killed by traitors, as