Cubop City Blues (Hardcover)

By Pablo Medina

Grove Press, 9780802119841, 260pp.

Publication Date: June 5, 2012

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (6/11/2013)
MP3 CD (5/31/2016)

List Price: 25.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Poet and novelist Pablo Medina's Cubop City Blues fuses raw, passionate language and elegant lyricism to breathe life into a musically disguised New York City shaped by jazz masters, refugees, and storytellers.

Our guide into Cubop City is The Storyteller, born nearly blind and shrouded in his mother's guilt. He's homeschooled inside his parents' crumbling apartment with a European housekeeper, and educated through Encyclopedia Britannica, The Bible, and Arabian Nights. When he's twenty-five, his mother and father are diagnosed with cancer, and The Storyteller is left to care for them. He does so by telling them stories conceived from the prolific reading that allowed his imagination to flourish despite little contact with the outside world.

Through his tales--full of magic, sorrow, longing, love--Cubop City surges to life. Moving through myriad points of view, The Storyteller imagines a world populated by both well-known figures like Chano Pozo and Jelly Roll Morton, and invented characters, most notably a mustachioed man who is stabbed by a stranger and embarks on a novel-long search for his attacker.

Molded in the cadence of Afro-Cuban jazz, Cubop City Blues is a symphonic portrait of a bustling urban landscape and the intimate lives that give a city its voice.

About the Author

Pablo Medina was born in Havana, Cuba, and came to New York City at the age of twelve. He is the author of eleven books of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and translation. His sixth collection of poetry, Highway of Blazing Cars, is forthcoming from Hanging Loose Press. A recipient of numerous awards for his work, Pablo Medina resides in Boston and teaches writing, literature, and translation at Emerson College. Visit his website at

Praise For Cubop City Blues

"[Medina's] most touching novel to date . . . A rich and stunning novel with an incredibly intricate scaffolding. . . . Yet another triumph."Los Angeles Review of Books

[A] haunting love letter to New York . . . Vivifies the cityscape over many decades with tales of love, death, and exile . . . Rich and accomplished . . . Medina has a keen eye for the ebb and flow of desire. . . . There is beauty, suffused with a muted melancholy, in Medina’s attempt to capture the rhythms of life.”Publishers Weekly

"An enjoyable read that reminds us the world is as expansive as our imagination. Readers who enjoy the work of Omar Torres and Cristina Garcia will want to add Medina to their reading list."Library Journal

"Storytelling that playfully illuminated the essence of storytelling."Kirkus Reviews