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Citizen Cárdenas

A Novel

Steve Cole

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  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.50" x 8.50"
  • ISBN: 978-1-63505-056-1
  • Publication Date: 2016-05-24
  • North Loop Books

Availability: In stock

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Paperback$15.95

Citizen Cárdenas

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“Mami, Dadi, I’m dead! I’m dead!” yells Jesus “Gato” Cárdenas, running across the street to George and Alexia Demas. Then Gato shows them the letter from Social Security: “We are sorry to learn that JESUS CÁRDENDAS . . . died July 30, 2002.”

Such begins the entanglement of George and Alexia Demas and Jesus Cárdenas, sometimes-homeless, always living by his wits, Cuban immigrant. George finds out why Gato was pronounced dead and gets his check reinstated.

The Demases let him stay in their home until he receives his back pay; George becomes Gato’s payee, receiving his monthly check, paying his rent, trying to get his ID.

Gato claims to be a Vietnam veteran and US citizen, yet both assertions prove difficult to verify. Is he a refugee of the Castro regime, or one of Castro’s undesirables released to the US during an early ’80s boatlift?

In their search for truth, the Demases discover how entwined their lives are with this mysterious, down-but-not-out character.

Steve Cole


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Steve Cole

Like many people of our time, Steve Cole has reinvented himself more than a few times. Until he retired in early 2014, he had been a database developer and data architect in the health care industry. As a young man, after quitting college, he worked in factories, on the docks of Milwaukee, and in communities in Milwaukee and Chicago as a community advocate and political activist. From 1976–1986, Steve wrote articles for a community magazine, Keep Strong, and a biweekly newspaper, All Chicago City News. Steve and his family have lived in their Chicago three-flat for 30 years. They travel frequently to Greece to visit relatives and have made learning Greek a family project. They are also active in St. Basil Greek Orthodox Church and, in particular, its prison ministry.