Cubop City Blues by Pablo Medina

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Poet and novelist Pablo Medina’s Cubop City fuses raw, passionate language and elegant lyricism to breathe life into a musically-disguised New York City shaped by jazz masters, refugees, and storytellers.

Our guide into Cubop City is The Storyteller, born nearly blind and shrouded in his mother’s guilt. He’s homeschooled inside his parents’ crumbling apartment with a European housekeeper, and educated through Encyclopedia Britannica, The Bible, and Arabian Nights. When he's twenty-five, his mother and father are both diagnosed with cancer, and The Storyteller alone is left to care for them. He does so by telling them stories conceived from the prolific reading that allowed his imagination to flourish despite little contact with the outside world.

Through his tales—full of magic, sorrow, longing, love—Cubop City surges colorfully to life. Moving through myriad points of view, The Storyteller imagines a world populated by both well-known figures like Chano Pozo and Jelly Roll Morton, and invented characters, most notably a mustachioed man who is stabbed by a stranger and embarks on a novel-long search for his attacker.

Molded in the cadence of Afro-Cuban jazz, Cubop City is a symphonic portrait of a bustling urban landscape and the intimate lives that give a city its voice.

About Pablo Medina

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Pablo Medina was born in Havana, Cuba, and came to New York City at the age of twelve. He is the author of eleven books of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and translation. His sixth collection of poetry, Highway of Blazing Cars, is forthcoming from Hanging Loose Press. A recipient of numerous awards for his work, Pablo Medina resides in Boston and teaches writing, literature, and translation at Emerson College. Visit his website at
Published June 5, 2012 by Grove Press. 272 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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it is “walking words and static silence and drums and saints and demons with penises like flaming hoses stalking the pretty girls by the school door...It is the long nose of the marketplace and the short nose of the church.” But it is not the only city explored here, as the book culminates in the...

Jun 05 2012 | Read Full Review of Cubop City Blues

Publishers Weekly

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In this haunting love letter to New York, poet and novelist Medina (The Cigar Roller) crafts a hybrid novel/story collection that vivifies the cityscape over many decades with tales of love, death, and exile.

Mar 05 2012 | Read Full Review of Cubop City Blues

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