The Halfway House is another amazing introduction to the Anglophone world by New Directions editor Barbara Epler, who is responsible for first publishing Roberto Bolaño, Javier Marias, Horacio Castellanos Moya and W.G. Sebald in the United States. The Halfway House is a powerful addition to "bottom dog" literature in the tradition of Edward Dahlberg and John Fante.
—Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books
Never before available in English, The Halfway House is a trip to the darkest corners of the human condition. Humiliations, filth, stench, and physical abuse comprise the asphyxiating atmosphere of a halfway house for indigents in Miami where, in a shaken mental state, the writer William Figueras lives after his exile from Cuba. He claims to have gone crazy after the Cuban government judged his first novel "morose, pornographic, and also irreverent, because it dealt harshly with the Communist Party," and prohibited its publication. By the time he arrives in Miami twenty years later, he is a "toothless, skinny, frightened guy who had to be admitted to a psychiatric ward that very day" instead of the ready-for-success exile his relatives expected to welcome and receive among them. Placed in a halfway house, with its trapped bestial inhabitants and abusive overseers, he enters a hell. Romance appears in the form of Frances, a mentally fragile woman and an angel, with whom he tries to escape in this apocalyptic classic of Cuban literature.
“This posthumous translation of Rosales, a Cuban-American writer who committed suicide in 1993, delivers a raw, powerful story set in a Miami home for the mentally ill… It's a frightening, nihilistic cousin of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.”
“Behind the hardly one hundred pages,” Canarias Diario stated, “is the work of a tireless fabulist, a writer who delights in language, extracting verbs and adjectives which are powerful enough to stop the reader in his tracks.”
“Confronting an impassive world, Guillermo Rosales has left us this painful, violent, and lyrical testament.”
“It seems almost impossible to find so much cruelty in barely one hundred pages; but it's just that behind these terrible and moving one hundred pages there are thousands of pages, millions of sentences, that reveal an entirely destroyed universe. Indispensable.”