The Messenger : A Novel
by Mayra Montero
Set in Cuba, "The Messenger" tells the story of a pair of doomed lovers-world-famous tenor Enrico Caruso and his Chinese-Cuban mullatta mistress. In June 1920 a bomb exploded at the Teatro Nacional in Havana at the very moment that Enrico Caruso was singing RadamEs in the opera "AIda." In a panic, he fled the theater and disappeared into the streets of Havana. What happened to him is the story imagined by Mayra Montero. As Caruso tries to escape the murderous agents of the Black Hand, he is drawn into a passionate love affair with Aida Cheng, a woman whose godfather is the powerful Afro-Cuban santero JosE de CalazAn. Told by Enriqueta, the daughter born of the love affair, and by Aida herself as she lies dying many years later, "The Messenger" unfolds its mysteries against the rhythms of African santerIa and Chinese folk magic and weaves a brooding, compelling tale of love and death.