Author(s): Pedro Juan Gutierrez
In Tropical Animal, Gutierrez again initiates the reader in a profoundly dirty urban realism. Sexy, sordid and sleazy, it brings to mind the likes of Miller and Bukowski, but is unmistakably, and inimitably, its own thing. Publication of Dirty Havana Trilogy, Gutierrez's first novel to be translated into English, catapulted him into the front rank of internationally renowned Latin American authors. Tropical Animal sees the return of the already infamous Pedro Juan, the protagonist at the heart of the first novel. Pursued by Gloria, a proud and sophisticated prostitute on a mission to curb his predatory instincts, Pedro Juan is holed-up in his crumbling Havana apartment, painting, with a growing sense of melancholy as he observes the lives of the hustlers, hipsters and hookers in the city below him. An invitation to Sweden, of all places - cold, unwelcoming, the very antithesis of Pedro's Cuba - seems to offer him a way out, and the seductive phone manner of Agneta proves persuasive enough for him to leave for Europe. However, he soon finds himself haunted by memories of Gloria and their wild sex together, and increasingly uninspired by his new environment. Does Pedro Juan, legendary sexual conquistador and imbiber of hard liquor and substances, finally have to admit that the game is over? Or do his hedonistic instincts have juice enough to keep him active yet?