Gale in the cane fields

Vendaval Route in the Sugarcane Fields

Nice. France

Vendaval route in the sugarcane fields

Gale in the Sugar Cane Fields
is a Cuban novel, published in 1938 by Alberto Lamar Schweyer. The book narrates a journey from Nice to Havana. Gonzalo Maret, the main character, is on his way to a sugar mill where a strike, orchestrated by communists, threatens the powers that be.
Set in Nice, Bermuda, Havana, New York, Rio de Janeiro and Miami,
Gale in the Sugar Cane Fields
is a passionate and dystopian portrait of republican Cuba.

Indeed, the two narrative threads of Vendaval en los cañaverales are reducible to the specific topology of the difference between sea and land. On the one hand, the sea is the space of displacement of the bourgeoisie over the same sky: from Paris to Nice, from New York to Miami, from Havana to the coasts of Brazil. The process of derealization is confirmed by the multiple displacements it makes possible, but always as a surplus of the telluric. It is in this sense that the novel could be read as a travel narrative, although unlike the classical travel narrative, here the techniques of knowledge and observational experiences typical of the bourgeois ethnographic endeavor endowed with a self-conscious sense of what it sees are absent.


Although the windstorm in the sugarcane fields also works with the typology of the professional class (Gonzalo Maret is a doctor and Óscar Arias is the accountant of the Goldenthal Sugar Company), Lamar chooses to represent that class as a group that lives overseas and thus inscribes itself in a sort of asymmetrical temporality with respect to the telluric conflict. Thus, Gale spatializes the aristocratic class to make it converge with the sugar corporation: the owner Goldenthal rides around in his yacht The company’s investor Ducker holds a conversation from his office in one of the skyscrapers in New York’s Financial District, Kenyon and McDonall act as company bureaucrats on the island, Oscar Arias and Márquez give orders in the sugarcane field. For Lamar, this Cuban montage of the planetaryization of capital has the cost of abandoning any hint of social conflict.

Gerardo Muñoz

Nassau. Bermuda shorts

Havana. Cuba

Rio de Janeiro. Brazil

Miami. United States

Vendaval route in the sugarcane fields

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