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Telex from Cuba by Rachel Kushner
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Telex from Cuba

by Rachel Kushner

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5383528,922 (3.53)72
Coming of age in mid-1950s Cuba where the local sugar and nickel production are controlled by American interests, Everly Lederer and KC Stites observe the indulgences and betrayals of the adult world and are swept up by the revolt led by Fidel and Raúl Castro.
Recently added byprivate library, richardderus, JeremyHardie, hrebml, alo1224, knittinkitties, Flannel10
  1. 00
    Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis De Bernières (thepequodtwo)
    thepequodtwo: Both de Bernieres and Kushner skillfully intertwine multiple story threads and characters to create a sense of time and place, both passing and changing, that is vivid and powerful.
  2. 01
    With Love, The Argentina Family: Memories of Tango and Kugel; Mate with Knishes by Mirta Ines Trupp (russellhk65)
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Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Pearl Rule 12 (p8)

Daddy swore out loud and rushed to the garage where Hilton kept the company limousine, a shiny black Buick. We had two of them—Dynaflows, with the chromed, oval-shaped ventiports along the front fenders.
Dynaflow is a brand of transmission that Buick developed. The car itself was a Buick Roadmaster. If you don't get details such as this right, I lose my sense that you're getting things important to the story, things invisible to me, correct; that means I get the sense that your novel's world is built on misunderstandings and faulty assumptions.

Fiction is made up. It's not history. A detail, a grace note like a thirteen-year-old boy telling the reader that his dad was getting out the Buick, is the world-building that deepens the experience of reading a novel. Unlike speculative fiction, authors can not wave their hands and say "it's my world, so that's how it is." This is January 1958, in Preston (now Guatemala), Cuba; a real place, in a time many now alive remember. Take care to research details or please don't deploy them. Getting something that your point-of-view character is absolutely sure to know *cold*—he's being set up as a bog-standard teen boy and, in 1958 in the US imperial zone, that meant he knew about cars or was...funny—wrong is a signal to my overbooked eyes that this isn't the read for me.
  richardderus | Sep 10, 2019 |
Reading her first book last was interesting (I started with The Flame Throwers, then read The Mars Room, and finally Telex from Cuba). There's a progression, or development, from Telex to Flame Throwers to Mars Room. All of them have an historical-fiction sense (well, recent history) that gets less and less central from her first to her third book, but maintains a reportage--a connection with social issues--element while keeping the fictional characters central. Telex from Cuba is the most historical in some ways, with the story of the Cuban Revolution a constant in the background, like she does with the Red Brigades in The Flame Throwers (although there, the political history is even more backgrounded and only one of the subplots). In all three novels there are strong, rebellious women characters who wind up teaching us something important about the social and political undercurrents that form the historical background. The Rachel K character in Telex is perhaps not as clearly defined in this way (in comparison with the central character in The Mars Room), but the lack of definition is part of the mystery that intersects with the Cuban Revolution such that we can imagine different possible futures for her. The other intriguing aspect of Telex is how it manages to tell the story of the Revolution without really taking sides; its nonjudgmental perspective makes it possible to get closer to what it may have been like to experience that period, especially from an ex-pat, outsider's point of view. (Brian) ( )
  ShawIslandLibrary | Dec 27, 2018 |
I wanted to read this one after enjoying The Flamethrowers last year. This one is very different - an impressively detailed recreation of life in Cuba in the 1950s as the revolution was brewing.

It tells the stories of an odd mixture of characters, mostly American colonists. The most compelling voices are the children. Inevitably the book is a little uneven, but is well worth reading and an intriguing choice of subject for a first novel. ( )
  bodachliath | Sep 14, 2018 |
Flamethrowers is much more sophisticated work than this. Although the historical setting presents lots of potential, this novel is ordinary. ( )
  ghefferon | Aug 22, 2018 |
Really couldn't get into this book at all. It was confusing and frankly quite ho hum. ( )
  LindaWeeks | May 14, 2018 |
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All is order there, and elegance,
pleasure, peace, and opulence.
-- Invitation to the Voyage"
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This book is for Jason Smith
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There it was on the globe, a dashed line of darker blue on the lighter blue Atlantic.
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