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Telex from Cuba

by

Telex from Cuba Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Now in paperback, one of the most celebrated debut novels of 2008, a vivid portrait of the American communities in pre-Castro Cuba is “a pure treat from the cover to the very last page…. a world we’ll never see again” (The Washington Post Book World).

“ W onderful  reviews  are  coming  thick and fast…and they’re more than well deserved,”  declared  The  Washington Post  Book  World  of  Rachel  Kushner’s  brilliant debut,  about  the  Americans  who  were  driven out  of  Cuba  in  1958.  Telex  from  Cuba’s  “pre- cisely  drawn  characters  and  sharp  detail…offer a   compelling   look   at   a   paradise   corrupted” (People) and “an inevitable, ineffable poignancy"

(USA TODAY).

Everly Lederer and K.C. Stites come of age in Oriente Province, where the Americans tend 300,000 acres of United Fruit Company sugar- cane, which surrounds their gated enclave. The rural tropics are a child’s paradise, yet Everly and K.C. have keen eyes for the indulgences and betrayals of the grown-ups around them—the excessive drinking and illicit loves, the race hier- archies and simmering violence.

When Fidel and RaÚl Castro lead a revolt from the mountains above the cane plantation, torch- ing the sugar and kidnapping a boat full of “yan- qui” revelers, K.C. and Everly begin to discover the brutality that keeps the colony humming. If their parents remain blissfully untouched by the forces of history, the children hear the whispers of what is to come.

“Lush, meticulous, and cinematic” (Elle), Kushner’s novel is a tour de force, with the urgency of a telex from a forgotten time and place.

Synopsis:

Rachel Kushner has written 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.

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.

At the time, urgent news was conveyed by telex. 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 the Author

Rachel Kushner is a coeditor of the art and literary journal Soft Targets and a frequent contributor to Artforum. A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia University’s MFA program in writing, she has worked as an editor at both Bomb and Grand Street magazines. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

PATRICIA GOSSETT, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by PATRICIA GOSSETT)
The diversity of characters drew me into this book. The narrative, as told from these characters' point of view was captivating. It was a "can't put it down" book for me.
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teelgee, October 6, 2009 (view all comments by teelgee)
I read this for my book group, else I probably wouldn't have finished it. The setting is Cuba - a sugar plantation and a nickel mine, both run by Americans - in the 1950s (with a fair amount of jumping around to other time periods).

I enjoy a book that is narrated from several different points of view when it's done well. This one was not. It was clunky and confusing, went from first person to third person and back. The story would have flowed much better if the author had stuck to one third person narrator.

I enjoy historical fiction when it's done well. This one was not. I'm not real familiar with the revolution in Cuba. But my sense is that Kushner took a lot of liberties with the historical characters - Fidel and Raul Castro in particular - and she threw in cameos of Hemingway and Sartre, among others, that served no purpose to the story.

I love metaphors when they're done well. Some of Kushner's metaphors made me smile or nod, but many made me groan. From the same page, here are two examples:

"Paris resituated to the tropics, with its humidity, deluges, and brine, was like a transplanted organ a body had begun to reject." *smile*

"...a layer of rhetorical dust piling on the cryptic words like lint from a vacuum cleaner bag." *wha? groan*

One thing Kushner did well was to show how American imperialism has affected countries like Cuba and Haiti. I hated most of the characters, their pomposity and privilege, their sense of entitlement and their racism. And the ruination of such exquisite land for a profit by the big corporations that take and take and take and give back so little. And we wonder why Cubans, Mexicans, et al want to leave their countries and come to America? For the most part, we've left them with little or nothing.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781416561040
Author:
Kushner, Rachel
Publisher:
Scribner Book Company
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
national book award, best of 2008, the flamethrowers, oscar hijuelos, lynne tillman, lisa fugard, heidi julavits, junot diaz, fidel castro, batista, cuban revolution, united fruit, chiquita, sugar plantation, red brigades, futurism, new York art scene, so
Subject:
national book award, best of 2008, the flamethrowers, oscar hijuelos, lynne tillman, lisa fugard, heidi julavits, junot diaz, fidel castro, batista, cuban revolution, united fruit, chiquita, sugar plantation, red brigades, futurism, new York art scene, so
Subject:
national book award, best of 2008, the flamethrowers, oscar hijuelos, lynne tillman, lisa fugard, heidi julavits, junot diaz, fidel castro, batista, cuban revolution, united fruit, chiquita, sugar plantation, red brigades, futurism, new York art scene, so
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20090631
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
8 x 5.25 in

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Related Subjects

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Telex from Cuba New Trade Paper
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$16.00 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Scribner Book Company - English 9781416561040 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Rachel Kushner has written 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.

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.

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

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