Telex from Cuba by Rachel Kushner
A Novel

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Kushner unpicks the subtle and not so subtle social and racial hierarchies at work while presenting a fascinating and vividly detailed portrait of the country. Sometimes the writing has a dreamy feel, at other times it's near-cinematic in its use of detail.
-Guardian

Synopsis

From the National Book Award Finalist and New York Times bestselling author of The Flamethrowers, an astonishingly wise, ambitious, and riveting novel set in the American community in Cuba during the years leading up to Castro's revolution—a place that was a paradise for a time and for a few. The first novel to tell the story of the Americans who were driven out in 1958, this is a masterful debut with a unique and necessary lens into US-Cuba relations.

Young Everly Lederer and K.C. Stites come of age in Oriente Province, where the Americans tend their own fiefdom—three hundred thousand acres of United Fruit Company sugarcane that surround their gated enclave. If the rural tropics are a child's dreamworld, Everly and K.C. nevertheless have keen eyes for the indulgences and betrayals of the grown-ups around them—the mordant drinking and illicit loves, the race hierarchies and violence.

In Havana, a thousand kilometers and a world away from the American colony, a cabaret dancer meets a French agitator named Christian de La Mazière, whose seductive demeanor can't mask his shameful past. Together they become enmeshed in the brewing political underground. When Fidel and Raúl Castro lead a revolt from the mountains above the cane plantation, torching the sugar and kidnapping a boat full of "yanqui" revelers, K.C. and Everly begin to discover the brutality that keeps the colony humming. Though their parents remain blissfully untouched by the forces of history, the children hear the whispers of what is to come.

Kushner's first novel is a tour de force, haunting and compelling, with the urgency of a telex from a forgotten time and place.
 

About Rachel Kushner

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Rachel Kushner was an editor at Grand Street and Bomb and now coedits Soft Targets. A frequent contributor to Artforum, she has a BA from the University of California at Berkeley and an MFA from Columbia University. She lives in Los Angeles. Lloyd James has been narrating since 1996, has recorded over six hundred books in almost every genre, has earned six AudioFile Earphones Awards, and is a two-time nominee for the prestigious Audie Award. His bestselling and most critically acclaimed performances include Elvis in the Morning by William F. Buckley, Jr., Ben Hur by Lew Wallace, Searching for Bobby Fischer by Fred Waitskin, and Mystic Warrior by Tracy and Laura Hickman. Lloyd's background as a performer includes extensive work in classical theater and folk music. He lives in Maryland with his wife and children.
 
Published July 1, 2008 by Scribner. 339 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Telex from Cuba
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Natasha Tripney on May 11 2014

Kushner unpicks the subtle and not so subtle social and racial hierarchies at work while presenting a fascinating and vividly detailed portrait of the country. Sometimes the writing has a dreamy feel, at other times it's near-cinematic in its use of detail.

Read Full Review of Telex from Cuba: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by ANNE ENRIGHT on Apr 23 2014

Telex from Cuba is epic and enjoyable: the style is lush and precise; the parties and cookouts, the drinks and affairs are beautiful and poignant, full of the pleasures of wealth overshadowed by loss.

Read Full Review of Telex from Cuba: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

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