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Guillermo Cabrera Infante (April 22, 1929 – February 21, 2005) was a Cuban novelist, essayist, translator, and critic; in the 1950s he used the pseudonym G. Caín.

A one-time supporter of the Castro regime, Cabrera Infante went into exile to London in 1965. He is best known for the novel Tres Tristes Tigres (literally "three sad tigers", but published in English as Three Trapped Tigers), which has been compared favorably to James Joyce's Ulysses.



Born in Gibara in Cuba's former Oriente Province (now part of Holguín Province), in 1941 he moved with his parents, to Havana, which would be the setting of nearly all of his writings other than his critical works. His parents were founding members of the Cuban Communist Party.

Originally he intended to become a physician, but abandoned that in favor of writing and his passion for the cinema. Starting in 1950, he studied journalism at he University of Havana.

[1] Under the Batista regime he was arrested and fined in 1952 for publishing a short story which included several English-language profanities. His opposition to Batista later cost him a short jail term.

He married for the first time in 1953. From 1954 to 1960 he wrote film reviews for the magazine Carteles, using the pseudonym G. Caín; he became its editor in chief, still pseudonymously, in 1957. With the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959 he was named director of the Instituto del Cine. He was also head of the literary magazine Lunes de Revolución, a supplement to the Communist newspaper Revolución; however, this supplement was prohibited in 1961 by Fidel Castro.

He divorced and remarried in 1961 to his second wife, Miriam Gomez, an actress. Having fallen somewhat out of favor with the Castro regime (the government's ban on a documentary on Havana nightlife made by his brother led to him being forbidden to publish in Cuba), he served from 1962 to 1965 in Brussels, Belgium as a cultural attaché. During this time, his sentiments turned against the Castro regime; after returning to Cuba for his mother's funeral in 1965, he went into exile, first to Madrid and then to London.

In 1966 he published Tres Tristes Tigres, a highly experimental, Joycean novel, playful and rich in literary allusions, which also intended to do for Cuban Spanish what Mark Twain had done for American English, recording the great variety of its colloquial variations.

It is little known that he was the Guillermo Caín who co-wrote the script for the 1971 cult film Vanishing Point.

Although he is considered a part of the famed Latin American "Boom" generation of writers that includes his contemporary Gabriel García Márquez, he disdained the label. Always the iconoclast, he even rejected the label "novel" for his masterpieces, such as Tres Tristes Tigres and La Habana para un infante difunto.

In 1997 he received the Premio Cervantes, presented to him by Spain's King Juan Carlos.

He died February 21, 2005 in London, of septicemia. He had two daughters by his first marriage.


  • Así en la paz como en la guerra (1960, "So in peace as in war")
  • Twentieth Century Job (1963, film reviews)
  • Vista del amanecer en el trópico (1964, novel, published in English as "A View of Dawn in the Tropics")
  • Tres Tristes Tigres (1967, novel, published in English as Three Trapped Tigers; the original title refers to a Spanish-language tongue-twister, and literally means "Three Sad Tigers"); portions of this were later republished as Ella cantaba boleros
  • Exorcismos de esti(l)o (1976, novel, "Exorcisms of style"; estilo means style and estío, summertime)
  • La Habana para un Infante Difunto (1979, memoir, published in English as Infante's Inferno; the Spanish title is a pun on "Pavane pour une infante defunte", title of a piano piece by Maurice Ravel)
  • Holy Smoke, 1985 (in English, later translated into Spanish as Puro Humo)
  • Delito por bailar el chachachá, 1995 (in English: Guilty of Dancing the ChaChaCha, 2001, translatet by himself)
  • Cine o sardina (1997, "Cinema or sardine")
  • Vidas para leerlas (1998, essays, "Lives to be read")
  • Arcadia todas las noches ("Arcadia every night")
  • Mea Cuba (1991, political essays, the title means "Cuba Pisses" or "Cuba is Pissing" and is a pun on "Mea Culpa")
  • Infantería (title is a pun on his name and the Spanish for "infantry")

Cabrera Infante also translated James Joyce's Dubliners into Spanish (1972) and wrote screenplays, including Vanishing Point and the adaptation of Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano.

Further reading


  • Cabrera Infante's Tres tristes tigres: the trapping effect of the signifier over subject and text / Hartman, Carmen Teresa., 2003
  • Guillermo Cabrera Infante: assays, essays and other arts / Nelson, Ardis L., 1999
  • Guillermo Cabrera Infante: two islands, many worlds / Souza, Raymond D., 1996
  • Guillermo Cabrera Infante and the cinema / Hall, Kenneth E., 1989
  • Novel lives: the fictional autobiographies of Guillermo Cabrera Infante and Mario Vargas Llosa / Feal, Rosemary Geisdorfer., 1986
  • Cabrera Infante in the Menippean tradition / Nelson, Ardis L., 1983
  • A critical study of Tres tristes tigres by Guillermo Cabrera Infante / C.A.H.J Scheybeler., 1977
  • Seven voices; seven Latin American writers talk to Rita Guibert. / Guibert, Rita., 1973


  • Acoso y ocaso de una ciudad : La Habana de Alejo Carpentier y Guillermo Cabrera Infante / Yolanda Izquierdo., 2002
  • Para leer Vista del amanecer en el trópico de Guillermo Cabrera Infante / Celina Manzoni., 1999
  • El heraldo de las malas noticias : Guillermo Cabrera Infante : ensayo a dos voces / Jacobo Machover., 1996
  • Cabrera Infante y otros escritores latinoamericanos / Ignacio Díaz Ruiz., 1992
  • Guillermo Cabrera Infante : La Habana, el lenguaje y la cinematografía / Ernesto Gil López., 1985
  • Discontinuidad y ruptura en Guillermo Cabrera Infante / Isabel Alvarez-Borland., 1982
  • Guillermo Cabrera Infante / Rosa María Pereda., 1979
  • Guillermo Cabrera Infante y Tres tristes tigres / Reynaldo L Jiménez., 1977
  • Guillermo Cabrera Infante / Julián Ríos., 1974
  • La nueva novela hispanoamericana y Tres tristes tigres / José Sánchez-Boudy., 1971


  1. ^ An Interview with Guillermo Cabrera Infante Center for book culture
    An appreciation of Guillermo Cabrera Infante by Dionisio D. Martínez



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