Telex from Cuba

By Rachel Kushner
(Scribner Book Company, Hardcover, 9781416561033, 322pp.)

Publication Date: July 2008

List Price: $25.00*
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the July 2008 Indie Next List
“Set in the last days of Cuba's golden age (at least, for American businessmen), this saga, at once familial and national, chronicles the drama of Castro's coming coup upon a family stuck in the center of an unstoppable storm. Kushner's storytelling -- as detailed as it is colorful; as truthful as it is fictional -- reads like a vast mural in prose, covering the reader's imagination with pages of forceful action and forthright emotion.”
-- Steve Shapiro, Rainy Day Books, Fairway, KS


Description

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 the author of Telex From Cuba (2008) and The Flamethrowers (2013), both of which were finalists for the National Book Award. Prior to becoming a novelist, she was an editor at both Grand Street and BOMB. She lives in Los Angeles.
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