About The Book
Reinaldo Arenas has been widely praised for his prodigious, explosive talent. A terrifying and beautiful novel, Old Rosa is composed of two stories that converge on a single charged point in the lives of a Cuban mother and son. In “Old Rosa,” we meet Rosa as a young woman, tall, proud, shrewd, always in control. But her world begins to crumble when her oldest son runs off to join Castro’s rebels and she finds her youngest son, her “brightest star,” in bed with another boy.
The second story, “The Brightest Star,” finds this youngest son in one of Castro’s camps for homosexuals, subjected to mind-numbing labor and unrelieved brutality. To survive, he writes’on paper bags and torn-off scraps of political posters, and in margins of stolen official documents. He writes to open a window of freedom, to preserve that dream of beauty and love, with such passion and soaring poetry that we can see the magnificent castles, the lush hanging gardens, the crystal palaces of his imagination”as they blossom and dissolve around the image of Old Rosa, their fateful confrontation, and the vision of her house in flames.