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Reasons of State

Translated by Frances Partridge

Part of The Neversink Library

One of the most significant novels in Latin American literature, written by Cuba’s most important modern novelist—to win a bet with Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

In the early 1970s, friends Gabriel García Márquez, Augusto Roa Bastos and Alejo Carpentier reached a joint decision: they would each write a novel about the dictatorships then wreaking misery in Latin America. García Márquez went on to write The Autumn of the Patriarch and Roa Bastos I, the Supreme. The third novel in this remarkable trinity is Reasons of State, hailed as the most significant novel ever to come out of Cuba.

As with Garcia Marquez, Reasons of State is a bold story, boldly told — daring in its perceptions, rich in lush detail, inventive in prose, and deadly compelling in its suspenseful plot.

Inexplicably out of print for years, it tells the tale of the dictator of an unnamed Latin American country who has been living the life of luxury in high-society Paris. When news reaches him of a coup at home, he rushes back and crushes it with brutal military force. But returning to Paris he is given a chilly welcome, and learns that photographs of the atrocities have been circulating among his well-to-do friends.

Meanwhile World War One has broken out, and another rebellion forces the dictator back across the ocean. As he struggles with the Marxist forces beginning to find footing in his own country, and Europe is devastated, Carpentier constructs a masterful and biting satire of the new world order.

ALEJO CARPENTIER (1904-1980) was one of the most important writers of the Latin American boom. He was born in Switzerland but grew up in Havana; his European and Latin American roots allowed him a unique insight into the relationship between the new world and the old. He was arrested in 1927 for opposing the Cuban dictator Gerardo Machado y Morales, and on his release from prison escaped the country to Paris. He traveled back to Cuba in 1936, after the regime fell, then lived for a short while in Venezuela. He returned to Cuba once again in 1959, to join Fidel
Castro’s revolution. He finally settled in Paris in 1966, and died there fourteen years later.

FRANCES PARTRIDGE
 (1900-2004) was a member of the Bloomsbury group, a writer, and a translator from French and Spanish.

“[Reasons of State] deserves consideration among the greatest novels depicting the interplay between the so-called Old World and New.” —Brooklyn Paper

“A sardonic and microscopically observed jet-black comedic study… Its republication is another gift in this golden age of reprints.” —Bomb

“Carpentier’s energy is gigantic and pell-mell, sweeping colossi on top of each other with ruthless, contemptuous daring.” —The Yale Review

“A writer to be classed with Thomas Mann and W.H. Hudson.” —San Francisco Chronicle

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