Review of Roberto Quesada's The Big Banana
In the annals of Western literature, we've had great Mother Russia as metaphor, the great open road of America as metaphor, and now, with Roberto Quesada's novel ''The Big Banana,'' we have Honduras. And what, in terms of a next big idea, does Honduras have to offer? According to the book's own characters: very little. Indeed, an obsession with the sheer tininess of things -- of countries, of ambitions and even of currencies (including the only extended comic riff I've ever seen regarding the Ecuadorean sucre's terrible exchange rate) -- is one of the funniest running jokes of this often hilarious novel, in which the pleasures are, literally, small.
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Roberto Quesada, whom Kurt Vonnegut described as "a witty, lively and talented writer", was born in Honduras in 1962. In 1986 he founded and directed the literary magazine 'SobreVuelo' and is the author of El desertor, Los barco, The Ships and El humano y la diosa which was awarded the prize of the Instituto Latinoamericano de Escritores in the US. His third novel, Big banana was also well received. He is currently First Secretary of the Honduras Embassy in the UN. His short stories have appeared in anthologies published in Germany, Russia, Great Britain and Spain. His most recent novel is the bestseller Nunca entres por Miami.