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[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

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 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Arnaldo Correa
Spy's Fate
Akashic Books

Rating: 8/10 ?


February 3, 2004
Spy's Fate is a thrilling novel of international espionage, betrayal, politics and of course a bit of romance. Spy's Fate is the first novel penned in English by Arnaldo Correa, a legendary writer in Cuba who is considered one of the founding fathers of the Cuban crime-fiction circle that has exploded in the past few years. Born in the 1930s in the mountains of Cuba, Correa has worked on "development projects" for the Cuban government in such suspect locales as Vietnam and Angola, in addition to Cuba, where he has found an audience and personal praise in Fidel Castro.

Just how much of Spy's Fate is fiction and how much is autobiographical isn' t clear, but the parallels between protagonist Carlos Manuel and Correa are many - from the inclusion of mining operations in the United States to adventures in the thick of revolutionary Africa. Correa uses his personal experience deftly, placing well-developed characters, both major and minor, against the backdrop of an insolvent Cuba after the collapse of the Soviet Union. A high-level Cuban intelligence officer returns to his homeland after decades abroad in the shadowy trenches of the spy wars between the United States and its communist foes, only to find his wife has committed suicide and his three children have disowned him. From there a high-stakes of international cat and mouse ensue as Manuel is entangled in a death dance with his American nemesis, Timothy King, a shallow Cold War leftover whom Manuel parked behind a desk with a debilitating bomb in the jungles of Nicaragua.

Sometimes Correa can be unnecessarily hokey, especially when (perhaps fumbling for the proper English) he details the characters' emotions, and for all intents and purposes the novel could have finished near the halfway point when Carlos Manuel disappears quietly into the darkness of Vermont after falling in love and turning a troubled American teen's life around. But it is the unresolved conflict between Manuel and King that prods Correa to continue, and once the pace picks back up the second half of the book flows as smooth as the first. The only other casualty seems to be the peripheral characters who, in such a detailed plot, are developed, brought to the forefront and then abandoned abruptly and sometimes without resolution. Manuel's three children, who play an integral part in the development of the story, are hastily tied up at the end of the novel - the fate of Manuel's daughter and King's secretary left up in the air completely.

A highly recommended read, in spite of its idiosyncrasies, the timing of Spy's Fate couldn't be more appropriate, with attention on the increasingly important dialogue in US-Cuban relations as America's Caribbean neighbor approaches a post-Castro era. There are also several interesting bouts of backstabbing and cover-up within the American intelligence and law enforcement beurocracy, namely the mutual distrust between cowboys at both the CIA and FBI that became all too real in the wake of September 11th, 2001.

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth

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