IN ERNESTO MESTRE-REED’S novel Sacrificio, Rafa is a penniless Afro-Cuban teenager from the rural eastern part of the country who travels to the fishing village of Cojímar, famous as the setting for Hemingway’s novel The Old Man and the Sea. Rafa is cruised and picked up by Nicolás, then taken to Havana to become a waiter in the semi-legal restaurant run by Nicolás’ family. Welcomed as another son by Nicolás’ strong-willed mother Cecilia, the family struggles to make do while catering to the dwindling number of “Yuma,” foreign tourists.
Havana itself is on edge.
Reginald Harris is the author of Ten Tongues and Autogeography.