by Virgil Suárez
Publication Date: 1996
He’s fast. He’s nervous. He’s outrunning family and friends. Xavier Cuevas is on the treadmill in blind pursuit of the American Dream. Going nowhere. Going under. He can’t please anyone—not his Cuban parents nor his Anglo ex-wife—and least of all himself. Wedged between two cultures, two sets of ethics and expectations, Xavier is having trouble keeping step with the frenetic bi-cultural mambo he is caught up in.
Virgil Suárez’s fourth novel, Going Under, spins the compelling tale of a broken family, shattered dreams, a fragmented existence and a Cuban yuppie who has little else to show for all his efforts. Xavier is as lost in the past as his parents are. He’s as disoriented in the present as most of mainstream America is. He certainly has no time to think about the future. Going Under is a clever and disturbing parable of these disquieting times when standing still means losing ground and ultimately “going under”—economically, physically, culturally.
With this brilliant fast-paced novel, Suárez attains a higher ground for the Cuban-American novel. Suárez’s sparse, elegant prose lures us with a cool and witty portrayal of Xavier and Miami’s Cuban personality. As his cinematic style beckons, the reader can’t help but cruise along those hot Miami boulevards and observe the human tragic comedy as it unfolds in pastel colored flashes. Going Under is a riveting ride that shouldn’t be missed.
“This smooth, fluid narrative is full of cinematic details. Recommended.”–Library Journal
“An incisive portrait of an immigrant at odds with himself.”–Chicago Tribune
VIRGIL SUÁREZ is the highly praised author of numerous works about the Cuban-American experience, including: The Cutter (Arte Público Press, 1998), Spared Angola: Memoirs of a Cuban-American Childhood (Arte Público Press, 1997), Going Under (Arte Público Press, 1996), and Havana Thursdays (Arte Público Press, 1995), Welcome to the Oasis and Other Stories (Arte Público Press, 1992) and Latin Jazz (Fireside, 1989). He is the co-editor of the best-selling anthology, Iguana Dreams: New Latino Fiction (Harper Perennial, 1993), the first anthology of Cuban-American writers, Little Havana Blues (Arte Público, 1996), and a collection of contemporary Latino poetry, Paper Dance: 55 Latino Poets (Persean Books, 2000). The recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts in Poetry, 2001-2002, he is a professor of creative writing at Florida State University in Tallahassee.
Learn more by visiting his faculty page.