The Other Side of Paradise
Life in the New Cuba
By Julia Cooke
Seal Press (CA), Paperback, 9781580055314, 236pp.
Publication Date: April 2014
List Price: $17.00*
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This last generation of Cubans raised under Fidel Castro animate life in a waning era of political stagnation as the rest of the world beckons: waiting out storms at rummy hurricane parties and attending raucous drag cabarets, planning ascendant music careers and black-market business ventures, trying to reconcile the undefined future with the urgent today.
Eye-opening and politically prescient, "The Other Side of Paradise" offers a deep new understanding of a place that has so confounded and intrigued us.
Cooke introduces a world that somehow makes sense in its lack of reason, as understood by American readers. An excellent taste of Cuba today, without tourist plans or political agenda.”
"This irresistible gander at Cuba today features the liveliest prose and the sharpest eye for detail. The contradictions and improvisatory adjustments within this strange society are brought home through a series of vital portraits by the author, Julia Cooke, whose sympathy never gets in the way of her search for the elusive truth."
"With top-notch reporting and an eye for detail, Cooke dives deeply into post-Fidel Cuba to deliver an intimate, exuberant, poignant account of lives spent waiting for change."
Elisabeth Eaves, author of Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents
"In a series of nimble profiles, Cooke expertly documents what is likely to be the last generation of the lost youth of Cubathe teens of the transition, with all their contradictions, sorrows, and calluses. The Other Side of Paradise is a tear-through read, full of vitality and compassion."
Deb Olin Unferth, author of Revolution
American Julia Cooke documented the ways Cuba has changed since Fidel Castro ceded authority to his brother. During her travels, she says, everything she thought she knew was "blown out of the water." More at NPR.org
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