Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Best Books of 2008: Telex From Cuba

It's that time of year again, and your friendly neighborhood librarians are eager to tell you about the best books of 2008. Here is Isabelle with a review of her favorite book of the year.

Telex from Cuba, by Rachel Kushner, is listed as one of the "100 Notable Books of 2008" in New York Times Book Review, dated 12/7/08. It is based on the life of the author's mother and aunts in Cuba in the 1950s. For 50 years before Castro's revolution, Americans controlled Cuba's main exports - sugar and nickel. The executives and their families were sent to the island and the American companies built their own city complete with native servants. In this idyllic environment, political intrigues and bitter romances are seen through the children's minds during the years leading to Castro's revolution. When Americans have to evacuate the island, they look back to their lives in nostalgia.

I recommend this book to those who are interested in learning about life in Cuba before Castro's revolution. What makes it more real are the historical figures that skim through the narrative like Hemingway, Prio, Batista, Fidel and Raul Castro. The author weaves fact and fiction and the reader feels like they are actually witnessing all the events.

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