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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

Adios Muchachos

Daniel Chavarría

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To purchase Adios Muchachos

Title: Adios Muchachos
Author: Daniel Chavarría
Genre: Novel
Written: (Eng. 2001)
Length: 245 pages
Original in: Spanish
Availability: Adios Muchachos - US
Adiós muchachos - US
Adios Muchachos - UK
Adios Muchachos - Canada
Adios, ihr Jungs ! - Deutschland
  • Spanish title: Adiós muchachos
  • Translated by Carlos Lopez

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Our Assessment:

B+ : good fun, an entertaining romp

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
The Independent . 17/5/2003 Emma Hagestadt
The Village Voice . 6/7/2001 Miraida Morales

  From the Reviews:
  • "Daniel Chavarria's perkily air-brushed version of life among Havana's prostitutes bursts with humour and snappy Elmore Leonard-style prose." - Emma Hagestadt, The Independent

  • "Through Alicia, Chavarría provides a peek at a Cuba in the throes of globalization during the devastating Special Period. Full of humor and wit, Chavarría turns this basic story of survival into an erotic, fast-paced thriller." - Miraida Morales, The Village Voice

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Adios Muchachos is set in Havana in the mid-1990s. With limited opportunities in a state-run (and not particularly well-run) economy after the fall of the Soviet Union, a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do -- which, in the case of young Alicia, means becoming a "bicycle hooker".
       A knock-out with a facility for languages, Alicia knows she has assets that appeal, and her ambitions run a bit higher than just turning tricks on the street. Indeed, she figures out a way to hook some sugar-daddies so that she has them exactly where she wants them. It involves falling from a bicycle that's deliberately been made to practically fall apart whenever need be (so the sugar daddy can buy her a new one, too) -- but Alicia doesn't play the entirely helpless damsel in distress. She has her own rules, including doing most things on her own turf: rather than being taken out for a fancy meal she invites the suckers home where mom can cook for them (since the food they can buy for the cost of a restaurant meal can last them months) and where she can conveniently point out the decrepit appliances that they can't afford to replace, leading her customers to buy her new ones (which are promptly resold on the black market ...). Alicia doesn't treat these men like johns and doesn't act the whore -- but she does provide them with a lot of sex (which she happens to enjoy) and does get a lot in return.
       Alicia focusses on the foreign market -- only foreigners have the requisite hard cash, of course -- and one of the men she ropes in is Victor King, who is working on getting a multi-million dollar sunken-galleon tourism project off the ground. It turns out King isn't exactly who everyone believes him to be -- and he's also the first to completely see through Alicia's little game. But her trickery, in fact, suits him fine: he hires for a whole lot of money, demanding only that she occasionally seduce men he selects, having sex with them in front of a two-way mirror where he and his wife can watch .....
       The arrangement works fine for a while, but King's secrets -- from his identity, to the whole issue of his wife -- make for a few problems. Especially when there's an accident and someone dies. Because of King's precarious position -- he's only a short distance away from a huge payday, but it's all at risk now --, and because King remains Alicia's only ticket out of a life of really just turning tricks, they hatch a harebrained scheme to cover up the accident.
       The plot has some clever twists, and it's all relatively easy-going fun. Chavarría doesn't try anything too fancy, but he comes up with what seems like a good plan for King and Alicia to extricate themselves from the mess they're in -- and throws in a clever fatal flaw (which leads to an enjoyable conclusion).
       Alicia's non-chalant pleasure at pleasuring so many men isn't quite believable, but Adios Muchachos is a whole lot of fun, Chavarría offering some unexpected twists and quite a few entertaining characters (not least of which is Alicia's mother).
       A quick, fun read.

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Adios Muchachos: Reviews: Other books by Daniel Chavarría under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Uruguayan author Daniel Chavarría was born in 1933. A popular author, he has been a professor of classics, and lived in Cuba and Italy.

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