"The Thing that Mattered," [Eclectica Magazine; Volume 10, Number 4] by Terence S. Hawkins, is sort of highbrow fan fiction ("fanfic") with, at least to me, a novel and creative twist. Fan fiction is derivative literature from another's work, using his or her characters. In this case, the author uses characters from a classic movie and provides an afterwards to the movie in question. The novel innovation is that the protagonist of the piece is an actual famous literary figure from the not too distant past.
The story is set in Cuba, 1956, with Battista's hold on power precariously still in tact; increasing threatened by Castro's guerillas. The story begins at the funeral of the principal character from the movie. He has been murdered; shot in the face while apparently sitting peacefully at his desk in his office. Suspicions abound that, because of the character's checkered past and political partisan activities, he had been killed by an operative of either of the two contending Cuban political figures. Still, as there was no sign of a struggle, suspicion arises that the murder might have been one with a more personal motivation, and that the shooter was someone the victim had admitted and trusted.
How long it will take a reader to catch on to the fanfic scenario will depend, of course, on his or her degree of familiarity with both the movie and the real life literary figure. As the movie is one of the most popular and critically acclaimed flicks ever (though curiously based upon a would-be play that was never produced), and the author is perhaps the most august literary figure of the twentieth century, that shouldn't be long. Nevertheless, the lack of sophistication sadly exhibited by many of our younger folk today might render comprehension and a full appreciation of the story somewhat problematic to such readers.
The resolution to the story might be termed iconoclastic, by way of understatement. Indeed, some devoted fans of the real life protagonist might be outraged. What if any truth might lie with the character's seemingly bizarre motivation, once revealed, is not known by this reviewer.
The strength of the writer's writing per se within the piece is his splendid descriptive narration; indeed, perhaps inspired by being a fan of his protagonist. Mr. Hawkins sets the scenes quite nicely, and the reader can easily envision the steamy, tropical environment.
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