The Other Side of Paradise

Life in the New Cuba

By Julia Cooke
(Seal Press (CA), Paperback, 9781580055314, 236pp.)

Publication Date: April 2014

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Description
Change looms in Havana, Cuba's capital, a city electric with uncertainty yet cloaked in cliche, 90 miles from U.S. shores and off-limits to most Americans. Journalist Julia Cooke, who lived there at intervals over a period of five years, discovered a dynamic scene: baby-faced anarchists with Mohawks gelled with laundry soap, whiskey-drinking children of the elite, Santeria trainees, pregnant prostitutes, university graduates planning to leave for the first country that will give them a visa.
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.



NPR
Sunday, Apr 13, 2014

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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