Banned in Cuba but celebrated throughout the Spanish-speaking world, this picaresque novel in stories chronicles the misadventures of Pedro Juan, a former Cuban journalist living from hand to mouth in the squalor of contemporary Havana, half disgusted and half fascinated by the depths to which he has sunk. Like the lives of so many of his neighbors in the crumbling, once-elegant apartment houses that line Havana's waterfront, Pedro Juan's days and nights have been reduced by the so-called special times - the harsh recession that followed the Soviet Union's collapse - to the struggle of surviving the daily grit through the escapist pursuit of sex. Pedro Juan scrapes by under the shadow of hunger - all the while observing his lovers and friends, strangers on the street, and their suffering with an unsentimental, mocking, yet sympathetic eye.
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