Cuba Diaries by Isadora Tattlin
An American Housewife in Havana

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Synopsis

Isadora Tattlin is the American wife of a European energy consultant posted to Havana in the 1990s. Wisely, the witty Mrs. Tattlin began a diary the day her husband informed her of their new assignment. One of the first entries is her shopping list of things to take, including six gallons of shampoo. For although the Tattlins were provided with a wonderful, big house in Havana, complete with a staff of seven, there wasn't much else money could buy in a country whose shelves are nearly bare. The record of her daily life in Cuba raising her two small children, entertaining her husband's clients (among them Fidel Castro and his ministers and minions), and contending with chronic shortages of, well . . . everything (on the street, tourists are hounded not for money but for soap), is literally stunning.

Adventurous and intuitive, Tattlin squeezed every drop of juice--both tasty and repellent--from her experience. She traveled wherever she could (it's not easy--there are few road signs or appealing places to stay or eat). She befriended artists, attended concerts and plays. She gave dozens of parties, attended dozens more. Cuba Diaries--vividly explicit, empathetic, often hilarious--takes the reader deep inside this island country only ninety miles from the U.S., where the average doctor's salary is eleven dollars a month. The reader comes away appalled by the deprivation and drawn by the romance of a weirdly nostalgic Cuba frozen in the 1950s.
 

About Isadora Tattlin

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A native of California, Isadora Tattlin (her pen name) is the wife of a European executive. She lives wherever his business takes them.
 
Published May 17, 2002 by A Shannon Ravenel Book. 336 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Travel, History. Non-fiction

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Tattlin avoids the journal format’s inherent solipsism, leaving even her often chilly marital relationship unexamined, and uses the form as a generous lens upon the Cuban people, convincing the reader that after four decades under Castro they deserve an opportunity for self-determination.

| Read Full Review of Cuba Diaries: An American Hou...

Publishers Weekly

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Living amid severe economic imbalance, "tourist apartheid" imposed upon locals, shortages of every conceivable household need (Tattlin's list of supplies extends over two pages) and a social architecture frozen in the 1950s, Tattlin and family inhabit an upscale Havana townhouse accompanied by a ...

Mar 11 2002 | Read Full Review of Cuba Diaries: An American Hou...

Entertainment Weekly

How do you make a home in Communist Cuba, where Christmas trees are banned by government order and billboards blare slogans like ''Mr. Imperialists: we are absolutely unafraid of you!''?

Jun 14 2002 | Read Full Review of Cuba Diaries: An American Hou...

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