Anything But Love
by Gustavo Pérez Firmat
Publication Date: March 31, 2000
10 in stock
Some people would call Frank Guerra fussy, even compulsive–but they’re wrong. He simply believes in perfection. He strives to make every textbook he writes into a work of art, and he intends that every Cuba Libre he mixes come out textbook-perfect. (The key? Exactly six drops of lime juice for each ounce of rum.) And Frank also believes in romantic love.
In fact, he believes in love so strongly that he’s willing to divorce his faithful wife Marta (who’s a real mensch about it), lose his old friends, and even leave behind his adoring daughter Emily–all for the sake of his new americana, a sedate but supremely sexy schoolteacher named Catherine O’Neal, or Cat for short. But it’s worth all the pain: Cat believes in their love, too.
So why, when he looks deep into Cat’s cool, sphinx-like eyes, can Frank never penetrate into her depths? Why does he begin to see only his own gaze reflected there, as if from twin funhouse mirrors? Is she hiding something from him–anything? (Everything, maybe?) Is his Cat merely toying with him? Frank finds the possibility disturbing. He expects his perfect love to be fully and equally reciprocated. After all, in an imperfect, unstable world filled with disappointment, isn’t there any ideal, anything, that’s really worth living for, maybe even dying for? Frank can’t think of anything but love.
“A serious work of literature–as well as a ripping good book… [Pérez Firmat] offers us an eloquent, amusing, often moving testament of a long moment in the troubled history of two countries.”
—The Washington Post Book World
“Smooth, poignant, witty…”
“A fascinating account of a 3-year search for a homeland and a new national identity… Engrossing and full of insights into the Cuban exile community.”
GUSTAVO PÉREZ FIRMAT is the author of Anything But Love (Arte Público Press, 2000) and El año que viene estamos en Cuba (Arte Público Press, 1997). A poet, fiction writer, and scholar, Pérez Firmat is the author of ten books and over seventy essays and reviews. His books of literary and cultural criticism include My Own Private Cuba (Society of Spanish & Spanish, 1999), Life on the Hyphen: The Cuban-American Way (University of Texas Press, 1994), Idle Fictions (Duke University Press, 1993), Do the Americas Have a Common Literature? (Duke University Press, 1990), and The Cuban Condition (Cambridge University Press, 1989). He has also published three collections of poetry: Bilingual Blues (Bilingual Review Press, 1995), Equivocaciones (1989), and Carolina Cuban (1987). The English-language edition of his memoir, El año que viene estamos en Cuba, Next Year in Cuba: A Cubano’s Coming of Age in America (Anchor Books, 1995), was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in non-fiction in 1995. Pérez Firmat is also the author of Cincuenta Lecciones de Exilio y Desexilio (Ediciones Universal, 2000), Triple Crown: Chicano, Puerto Rican, and Cuban-American Poetry (Bilingual Review Press, 1997), and Cuban American Writers: Los Atrevidos (Linden Lane Press, 1989). In 1995, he was named Duke University Scholar/Teacher of the Year, Duke University’s highest award for teaching excellence. Pérez Firmat earned his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Michigan. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with his wife and two children.
Learn more at gustavoperezfirmat.com.