A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
Havana, 1957. On the same day that the Mafia capo Umberto Anastasia is assassinated in a barber's chair in New York, a hippopotamus escapes from the zoo and is shot and killed by its pursuers. Assigned to cover the zoo story, Joaquin Porrata, a young Cuban journalist, finds himself embroiled in the mysterious connections between the hippo's death and the mafioso's in this intoxicating story of murder, mobsters, and, finally, love.
"I devoured it with absolute delight, and I'm looking forward to reading it again, and to reading anything Montero might come up with next."--The New York Times Book Review
"Montero exploits true crime, romance, family drama, cabaret, and even danzón. . . . Her new novel is a hell of a song."--San Francisco Chronicle
"[Montero] has crafted a story of pre-revolutionary Havana that crackles with violence, mystery, and a truly eccentric view of love. Imagine Raymond Carver crossed with Oscar Hijuelos's The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love."--O, The Oprah Magazine
"An extremely stylish novel . . . Montero is an energetic writer and Grossman's translation renders her prose into a wry, bawdy, delicious rhythm. . . . Here is a story of [Montero's] native country, marching toward the future one murder, one one-night stand, one dead hippo at a time. It's even more fun than it sounds."--The Star-Ledger (Newark)
"Montero has delivered a well-written, cinematic story that fairly steps off the page. Think Chinatown set in the late 1950s, pre-Castro Cuba."--The Plain Dealer
"Masterful . . . What a story! Montero has played her usual sleight of hand."--Houston Chronicle