Ay, Cuba! A Socio-Erotic Journey by Andrei Codrescu

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Synopsis

During a historic visit to Cuba--on the eve of Pope John Paul II's own trip-National Public Radio's Andrei Codrescu and photographer David Graham turned an unsparing but compassionate gaze upon Cuba. Registering the architecture, the bizarre two-tier economy of peso and dollar, the revivals of both Catholicism and the Afro-Cuban religion of santeria, and the sexual and social mores of a post-cold war communist society, Codrescu's words and Graham's photographs offer a vision of Cuba's brutally stark and sometimes tragic reality, as seen through the fascinating prism of Codrescu's own eccentric genius.

This portrait of a nation continually on the edge of history and politics will surprise and enlighten American readers, who have been misled by intransigent ideologues on both the right and the left. Indeed, Codrescu and Graham have transcended the often-petty American prejudices about Cuba, and have engaged the island nation's people on a level of intimacy that has never been seen before.

Through interviews with Cuban architects, writers, hustlers, prostitutes, and common working folk, Ay, Cuba! reveals a passionate society deeply in conflict with itself. This is not a cold, cross-sectioned study of Cuba, but rather a highly personal, human portrait of a proud, musical, smart, and sexy people.

Ay, Cuba! is thus a provocative reassessment of a world both familiar and unbearably exotic, only ninety miles from the coast of Florida, by one of America's most gifted social critics.

 

About Andrei Codrescu

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Romanian-born poet and essayist Andrei Codrescu, who also utilizes the pen names Betty Laredo and Maria Parfeni, emigrated to the United States in 1966. Codrescu earned a B.A. at the University of Bucharest, and has taught at numerous academic institutions including Johns Hopkins, the University of Baltimore, and Louisiana State University. Codrescu worked for National Public Radio as a commentator and has been featured on ABC News' Nightline. Some of Codrescu's short stories and novels include his first poetry collection, License to Carry a Gun and a memoir entitled In America's Shoe. Throughout the years, Codrescu has been awarded many honors including the Big Table Poetry Award, General Electric Foundation Poetry Prize, and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships for poetry, editing, and radio. His titles include The Posthuman Dada Guide: Tzara and Lenin Play Chess, The Poetry Lesson, and Whatever Gets You through the Night: A Story of Sheherezade and the Arabian Entertainments. Graham is a noted photographer. His photographs are included in the collections of New York's Museum of Modern Art, the Philadelphia Art Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
 
Published January 15, 1999 by St. Martin's Press. 224 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Travel, Professional & Technical, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Non-fiction

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Codrescu and his gang--a photographer, an NPR producer and a former Nicaraguan revolutionary--encounter street hustlers, prostitutes, visionary bureaucrats, Santeria practitioners, good and bad food, plenty of cigars and lots of rum as they peel away the Travel & Leisure veneer to discover the re...

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