Revolution Sunday is a complicated book, and a challenging one. It mixes poetry and prose, autofiction and hyperrealism, intense sensory detail and complete logistical vagueness. It has a plot, but not one that provides much momentum, or even meaning ... Achy Obejas does an exceptional job translating Revolution Sunday, especially as the novel turns inward. Her English prose is as intense and reckless as Cleo's Havana. In a less confident translator's hands, Cleo would lie flat on the page. Thanks to Obejas, she shimmers with life ... Revolutionary Sunday is a dirty novel, full of corruption, deception and betrayal. Guerra is a fearless writer, and she's lucky to have a fearless translator. Together, they make Revolution Sunday more vivid than life.
... Guerra plays with the expectation one might have of an authoritative account of the island during the normalizing of United States-Cuba relations. As often as [Guerra] gives a concrete description of Havana in the loosening grip of socialism, she gives one that dances and evades ... Though the phrasing 'guayabera shirt' makes this Spanish speaker flinch, [the translator] succeeds in capturing the sense of doom, the weather of half-truths and paranoia, floating at the edges of Cleo’s Cuba.
What could be a restive, paranoid novel about the effects of Cuban state surveillanceis marred by a need for exaggerated poeticism at all costs, including coherence. Revolution Sunday should be exciting: There are gunshots and glamorous parties, spies and traitors, kidnappings and affairs. At one point, Sting appears at the narrator’s door, clutching an in-flight magazine. But instead the novel feels muted and muddled ... Occasional passages... hint at what this novel would look like if bits of pretty incoherence weren’t clogging the drains. Guerra sometimes succeeds in creating a mood ... Difficult prose has to be earned: There has to be something worthwhile behind it.