A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice Havana, 1957. On the same day that the Mafia capo Umberto Anastasia is assassinated in a barber's chair in New York, a hippopotamus escapes from the zoo and is shot and killed by its pursuers. Assigned to cover the zoo story, Joaquin Porrata, a young Cuban journalist, finds himself embroiled in the mysterious connections between the hippo's death and the mafioso's in this intoxicating story of murder, mobsters, and, finally, love.
Mayra Montero is the author of a collection of short stories and of eight novels, including The Messenger, The Last Night I Spent with You, and Captain of the Sleepers. She was born in Cuba and lives in Puerto Rico, where she writes a weekly column in El Nuevo Dia newspaper.