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Three Trapped Tigers Paperback – July 1, 1997


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Paperback, July 1, 1997
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 487 pages
  • Publisher: Marlowe & Company (July 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569247137
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569247136
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,725,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This duo from 1971 and 1984, respectively, are vastly different. Inferno is an autobiographical novel that serves up a protagonist who fancies himself a true Latin lover. TTT, on the other hand, takes a more serious look at life in the cabaret society of pre-Castro Havana. Both, however, feature the author's signature wordplay.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"With Three Trapped Tigers Cabrera Infante enters the front rank of Latin American novelists. The book belongs with Cortazar's Hopscotch, Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, and Donoso's The Obscure Bird of Night." -- New York Review of Books

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Chiguluri on July 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
"Three Trapped Tigers" is a mind-boggler, and the expected outcome is to be able to know pre-revolutionary Havana as Cabrera Infante knew it himself. Whether this is even a possibility is something the reader must discover. Clues to the puzzle are divulged along the way, but mostly in the last section of the work, so that the reader gradually learns who the characters are, their relationships to one another, and how (and why?) they are experiencing pre-revolutionary Havana night life. The language games - including distortions, mutations, creations - add a unique element of humor. It is this humor that covers and pushes away the subtle insinuations of a tragic reality - a country on the verge of falling apart. In a work that contains such an energetic use of language, perhaps the "truth" is to be found in the silences.
The English version of "Tres tristes tigres" is where Cabrera Infante is most at liberty to describe that reality he wishes to convey in his work. He is no longer hindered by censorship so that he is free to use the language and descriptions he desires, making the English version closer to his original intent.
"Three Trapped Tigers" offers a dizzying experience of nocturnal Havana, of language, and of intimacy.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 31, 1997
Format: Paperback
An inventive and animated account of night life in Havana before Castro`s regime, narrated by four friends who are trying to build their careers and end a day "not with a whimper but a bang".

Using puns, tongue twisters, palindromes and wisecracks, they retell their own adventures and comment on their friends`, and make jokes by constantly twisting out the meaning of each word or phrase they say. They engage in parodying episodes and quotations from world literature (English & American influences include Shakespeare, Sterne, Poe, Melville, Carrol, Hemingway, Faulkner, Eliot, Joyce, and many others) and scenes from popular films (the novel itself is an attempt to reconstruct a film "P.M.", by Cabrera`s brother, destroyed by Cuban censorship). They turn all these upside down, creating a hilariously funny novel whose language is always on the move and where every word has at least a double meaning.

Underlying their humour, however, is a bitter feeling of emptiness and deprivation, inability to understand others and be understood. Faced with a paradox that you cannot talk about serious things in a serious way without taking a risk of being funny, you come to realize that humor is our only weapon on "...an island of double or tripple entendres told by a drunk idiot signifying everything."
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
I discovered Cabrera Infante's Tres Tristes Tigres (in Spanish) about 15 years ago and was so blown away that I searched for a copy in English so I could share it with my non Spanish speaking friends. I read the English version as well so I would know what I was recommending since I did not know how well it would translate, and found another book, equally funny--I believe he and a graduate assistant did the translation. Infante has an incredible way with language. It is certainly true that he should be read aloud. He painted an intriguing picture of a Havana which was probably almost as much a dream to him by that time as it was to me. I am buying this book today to give to a friend who introduced me to Felipe Alfau's Locos. I hope he will enjoy it as much as I have. Tres Tristes Tigres remains one of my favorite books.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By "wingedm" on March 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
En mi opinion, esta es una de las obras maestras de la literatura hispanoamericana del siglo XX. A traves de sus paginas, el autor nos trasporta a la Cuba pre-castrista, en un estilo literario que exude sabor y ambiente tropical. Es una obra divertida, experimental, y a fin de cuentas, enternecedora...
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
Infante has written a masterpiece. This book covers ( and plays on ) the styles of so many popular writers that it boggles the mind. On top of that the TRANSLATED version plays with the english language in a way that would make James Joyce proud,and maybe a wee bit jealous (and in all possibility giving the translator a nervous break down). Easily one of the best books I have ever read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tony H on April 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
For my money, as underappreciated a novel as I have ever read. Imagine Joyce in Havana in the 1950's, hanging out with the two-bit glamor girls and the big-band underbelly of Cuban society, living an "American Graffiti"esque life with his two best friends, all of them chasing women and drink and privacy and kicks, and kicks, and kicks, and kicks.

When people say a book is laugh-out-loud funny, they generally don't mean it, but lovers of wordplay and who have even a vague understanding of mid-20th Century North American popular culture will freak over this book.

A punny, dense, eclectic, raunchy, filthy, swinging rhumba of a novel. I can't recommend it highly enough.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Xavier on May 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
I recently read this book again this time in English. I forgot how phenomenal Cabrera Infante writes and he is my all time favorite exile novelist. The word play is great and translates well from the Spanish.
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