The Cutter is the story of a young man’s desperate attempt to leave what he believes to be a repressive Communist regime in Cuba. The novel is divided into five sections that mark the stages of Julian’s journey away from Cuba: “The Notice,” “The Fields,” “The Operation,” “The Shore,” and “The Refuge.” The story is told from the point of view of an omniscient third-person narrator.
The book begins when protagonist Julian Campos is twenty years old. Julian is a university student who has recently returned to Havana after having completed his years of mandatory military service in the Young Pioneers. Julian drifts off into the “freedom of sleep” only to be abruptly awakened by his ailing grandmother, Bernarda Del Rio, who informs Julian that someone is at the door. The visitor is a government official who hands Julian a telegram from the Ministry of the Interior. Julian has been waiting to leave Cuba ever since his parents received an “exit notice” five years earlier. Julian resents the fact that his parents left him behind. Although Elena and Ernesto, Julian’s parents, wanted to take their son with them to the United States, the authorities at the airport demanded that they leave Julian in Cuba or forfeit the privilege of leaving the country themselves.
Although Julian is disenchanted with the government in Cuba, he still believes that the legal system works. He is therefore convinced that if he goes through the proper bureaucratic channels, he will be rewarded with an exit notice from the Ministry of the Interior....
(The entire section is 646 words.)