Vintage International

Caracol Beach

A Novel

Publisher: Vintage
Eliseo Alberto's award-winning Caracol Beach combines the passionate imagination of magic realism with the plotting of a thriller (and a modicum of farce). The result is a literary tour de force.

Beto Milanes, the night watchman at a graveyard in the Florida resort town of Caracol Beach, is a guilt-ridden Cuban war veteran. Tormented by memories and hallucinations, he yearns to die but is unable to take his own life. Instead, he decides to force someone-anyone-to kill him. That decision sets in motion a night of violence that draws an odd assortment of characters into Beto's orbit. In scenes that range from the jungles of Angola to a seedy Florida bar, Alberto explores war, madness, exile, and the redemptive power of love.

Translated by Edith Grossman.


Chapter One
Clemency isn't a word that is used very often. On the previous night the soldier had dreamed again about the Bengal tiger, and he woke with a start, the taste of rotting meat in his mouth. He spat blood. His nerves had destroyed his gums, and no matter...
Read More


"A spectacular read... Storytelling magic."
--The Miami Herald

"Magic realism is in flower, but beneath its extravagant exaggerations lie serious observations about human nature."
--The New York Times Book Review

"[B]rilliant... a modern tragedy where madness goes hand in hand with the absurd."
--El Pais