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.