Mango-induced Memories

Literature Thursday, September 27

In Pablo Medina's third novel, The Cigar Roller, paralyzed stroke victim Amadeo Terra spends the remainder of his days languishing in a Tampa nursing home, his immobility and inability to speak in direct contrast to a mind that is very much alert and ragingly cognizant of his current state of powerlessness. Amadeo's day-to-day tedium reaches a turning point when his usual meal of bland mush is livened up with the taste of mango. "He wants it, tubs of it, he wants all mango, mango day and mango night, mango moon and mango sun ... Mango, he yells with his eyes; mango, he begs, blinking yes." The sticky yellow fruit triggers a flood of vibrant memories of his pre-Revolutionary Cuban homeland, of his pride as a master cigar roller, of the political turbulence that caused his family to immigrate to Florida, of his marriage and his unfaithful meanderings, and of his difficult relationship with his three sons. Alternating between dreary present and colorful past, Medina paints a poetic portrait of a fallen patriarch whose ruthless appetites ultimately lead to his pitiable state of existence. Medina reads selections from The Cigar Roller as part of the UT's Writers at the University series. Thurs., Sept. 27, 8 p.m., Reeves Theater-Vaughn Center, University of Tampa, 401 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, free admission, 813-257-3116.

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