Citizen Cárdenas: From Logan Square to Nairobi, around the World, and Back Again
2523 N Kedzie Blvd
Chicago, Illinois 60647
On June 1, 2016 City Lit Books in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, graciously hosted a very successful launch party for Steve Cole’s novel, Citizen Cárdenas. Two years later, the story of an often homeless, Cuban immigrant and Vietnam War veteran and his friendship with a Greek couple who help him through a number of crises, is finding readership around the world through a Book of the Day giveaway promotion of its Kindle/eBook edition publicized by the OnlineBookClub (OBC).
Citizen Cárdenas: Read and Reviewed Globally
From the time of the first OBC review in September, 2017, Steve saw the potential of a global audience for Citizen Cárdenas, with the following comment by Geoffrey Ngoima of Nairobi, Kenya:
“Haha, I’d like very much to spend a day with Gato, his life is nothing if not boring! Great review, ReviewerDiksha.”
After the second OBC review and the Book of the Day Promotion, another Nairobian Ana Njeri was more specific:
“The first thing that caught my attention with this book is the cover and the title. Then I read the review and there is the part where it says the main character is declared dead and goes on a search to prove he is alive. That completely convinced me that this book is going to be a worthy read for me.”
OLB’s second reviewer, Celeste Groenewald of Bloemfontein, South Africa, said:
“What hooked me right away is the novel’s substance and immediate depth. Citizen Cárdenas is a layered story; the characters’ motivations are conflicted, especially those of George and Alexia Demas. I sensed that Gato’s plight isn’t the only reason they wanted to help him back to his feet. . . . And what do we as readers do when asked to empathize with someone like Gato? Despite encountering these questions as I read the book, I don’t see Citizen Cárdenas as a didactic story. Despite his self-inflicted ill-health and intermittent homelessness, Gato is a charmer with a raffish dignity all his own.
“The story alternates between the first-person perspectives of Gato, George and Alexia, as well as some of Gato’s associates. His friend Mamerto’s poet viewpoints are particularly eloquent. Each character has a distinctive voice and offers a different facet of the story as it continues through time. Steve Cole is a careful observer of human nature and interaction, and he portrays his characters and their dialogue with a clear writing style.”
From the University of the Philippines in the Visayas, Christine Faith wrote of Citizen Cárdenas:
“A book about the unfairness of life and how compassion and empathy can make it bearable. This is not usually my cup of tea but I’m interested [because] more often than not, well-written characters make the story more interesting and engaging.”
Cameron Arsenault of Castelar, British Columbia, focused her comment on the protagonist “Gato” Cárdenas.
“Cole brings to life a character several may simply dismiss as a “social problem.” “Gato” is, at any given time, homeless, drunk, or elusive–even to those who do everything they can to help him. Using multiple viewpoints, Cole [writes of] a life battling bureaucracy, the realities of the homeless in Chicago, and, most of all, the inner demons we deal with on a daily basis.”
Richa Chauhan of Pune, India highly recommends Citizen Cárdenas “for somebody looking for strong character driven work of fiction. The first person narrative from its three protagonists – Gato , Alexia & George works really well and takes us closer to each of them. The story successfully binds the reader to the characters from the beginning itself.”
Buy Citizen Cárdenas Locally
Bringing things back to the States, Risa Roberts, whose home town of Rahway, NJ is just a few miles from Roselle, NJ, where Steve grew up, concisely reviewed Citizen Cárdenas on Amazon.com as “A tale of love and compassion for a man who ‘is down but never out!’ Touching. A page turner you won’t be able to put down!”
Chicagoans from Logan Square and the Northwest Side: Do you want a Chicago story “you won’t be able to put down?” If so, walk, bike or ride (plenty of parking behind the store) over to City Lit Books, and buy a copy of Citizen Cárdenas.
2523 N Kedzie Blvd
Chicago, Illinois 60647