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In the wake of his father's premature death, Jose Cemi comes of age in a turn of the century Cuba described in the Washington Post as "an island paradise where magic and philosophy twist the lives of the old Cuban bourgeoisie into extravagant wonderful shapes."
Jos Lezama Lima (December 19, 1910 in Havana, Cuba - August 8, 1976 in Havana, Cuba) was a Cuban writer and poet who is considered one of the most influential figures in Latin American literature.
"... Paradiso has the 'leaps of imagination' which have come to associated with the best contemporary Spanish literature." -- Jack Friedman, Village Voice "[An] extraordinary novel... written by Cuba's leading poet... There is scarcely a line in the entire narrative that could be mistaken for anyone else's writing... Lezama's language is reckless, voluptuous, sly and unrelentingly sexual... A masterpiece of the modern Spanish Baroque... Lezama has the power not only to create absorbing and memorable images; he has also placed these images in into a vast network of philosophical and mythical significance... For me, the proof of the greatness of Paradiso is that for the last two weeks I've been walking around New York seeing things through Lezama's eyes." -- Edmund White, New York Times