Say Hello to My Little Friend

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Pub Date 05 Mar 2024 | Archive Date 11 Mar 2024

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“A masterclass in pace and precision. Crucet can make you cry before you’ve even realized you’ve become invested and make you laugh even through the hurt. Brilliant”
NANA KWAME ADJEI-BRENYAH (National Book Award Finalist of Chain Gang All Stars)

"An electrifying new talent - she's funny, she's smart, and she knows how to tell great stories"

Scarface meets Moby Dick in this groundbreaking, darkly comic novel about a young man's attempt to capitalize on his mother's murky legacy - a story steeped in Miami's marvelous and sinister magic.

Failed Pitbull impersonator Ismael Reyes - you can call him Izzy - might not be the Scarface type, but why should that keep him from trying?

Growing up in Miami has shaped him into someone who dreams of being the King of the 305, with the money, power, and respect he assumes comes with it. After finding himself at the mercy of a cease-and desist letter from Pitbull's legal team and living in his aunt's garage-turned-efficiency, Izzy embarks on an absurd quest to turn himself into a modern-day Tony Montana.

Having found his Manolo and his Michelle Pfieffer, Izzy's efforts eventually lead him to the tank that houses Lolita, a captive orca at the Miami Seaquarium. She soon proves just how powerful she and the water surrounding her really are - permeating everything from Miami's sinking streets to Izzy's memories to the very heart of the novel itself.

What begins as Izzy's story turns into a super-saturated fever dream as sprawling and surreal as the Magic City itself. And as the truth surrounding Izzy's boyhood escape from Cuba surfaces, the novel ultimately reckons with the forces of nature, with the limits and absence of love, and with the dangers of pursuing a tragic inheritance. 

Praise for Jennine Capó Crucet

"Jennine Capó Crucet is a wonderful writer... wise and honest... furious and funny"
LAUREN GROFF (author of Fates and Furies and Matrix)

"This is definitely a young writer to watch for-sassy, smart, with an unerring ear for a community's voices, its losses, its over-the-top extravagances, and its poignant struggles to understand itself in a new land"
JULIA ALVAREZ (author of In the Time of Butterflies)

“A masterclass in pace and precision. Crucet can make you cry before you’ve even realized you’ve become invested and make you laugh even through the hurt. Brilliant”

Available Editions

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ISBN 9781529415537
PRICE £20.00 (GBP)

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Featured Reviews

Say Hello To My Little Friend is a novel about a twenty-year old Cuban man in Miami who decides to try and become Tony Montana, but who comes up against his own past, the city, and an orca. Izzy has just had a cease and desist stopping his burgeoning career as a Pitbull impersonator, so he pivots his dreams towards Scarface, planning out his steps to be Tony Montana. He finds a sidekick—his Manolo, Rudy—and someone who could be his Michelle Pfieffer love interest, but he also finds Lolita, the famed captive orca in Miami Seaquarium, and Izzy's mind becomes obsessed with her, as does the water of Miami. As Izzy hunts down what happens to get him from Cuba to Miami as a boy, all of his plans start to seem more tragic than triumphant.

As I love the film Scarface, I was immediately drawn to this book, but actually, it goes a lot further than that, combining Scarface, Moby Dick, and the city of Miami itself into a damp, darkly comic novel. The narrative voice is playful, sometimes taking things seriously and sometimes not (there's a part that recreates the success montage in Scarface but for the much lesser "success" of Izzy), and it casts a wry eye over everything, whilst still having a tense narrative as Izzy tries to uncover his own past (and makes a lot of missteps along the way). The plot centred around Lolita, the captive orca, is a wonderful example of bringing in an animal's perspective in a novel, and makes this book more than a story of a failed gangster.

Combining a sea creature, dodgy aspirations, and Cuban life in Miami, Say Hello To My Little Friend is a distinctive book, fun yet bittersweet, about the tragedy of a young man without the past or future he hopes for. It's a literary crime film and a free the orcas documentary and a magical tour of Miami all in one.

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