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The Messenger: A Novel

About the Book

The Messenger: A Novel

In 1920, opera singer Enrico Caruso came to Havana as part of a worldwide tour. An afternoon performance of Aida was interrupted by a bomb explosion inside the theatre, and Caruso disappeared, inexplicably, for several days. Already ill when he came to Cuba, the beloved tenor would die soon after. No one knows what happened to Caruso during the time he was lost in Cuba, but this historical gem of a mystery becomes the basis for The Messenger, a haunting, multi-faceted story that moves between the worlds of poverty and wealth, past and present, and love and death, to offer a stirring contemplation of humankind's attempts to control destiny. In Montero's story, Caruso is rescued from his would-be assassins by Aida Petrirena Cheng, the exotically beautiful daughter of a mulatto mother and a Chinese father, whom he encounters in a hotel kitchen where he has taken shelter. Still dressed in the robes that were his costume, Caruso is shocked and terrified by the explosion, but Aida has been forewarned of this meeting by her godfather, a Santería priest. Dutifully she helps fulfill her destiny by taking Caruso under her wing. What Aida hasn't anticipated is the intensity of her feelings for this powerful, ailing man, and her attempts to save him and herself force her to choose between the stirrings of her own heart and the advice of others. Wrapped around this story are the accounts of witnesses, bystanders, and others who were affected directly or indirectly by the explosion, and the personal accounts of Enriqueta -- Aida and Caruso's love child.

The Messenger: A Novel
by Mayra Montero

  • Publication Date: July 1, 2000
  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial
  • ISBN-10: 0060929618
  • ISBN-13: 9780060929619