From fiction to reportage to history, Julia Cooke, a Cuba expert, selects her favorite books that capture the beauty, heartache, and inextinguishable soul of this Caribbean island in this article for The Daily Beast.
Before Night Falls
Reinaldo Arenas (Penguin)
Arenas is both tremendously poetic and explicit in his memoir of growing up, coming out, and rebelling in—and then eventually departing from—Cuba. Nothing captures the exuberance and sensory experience of Havana quite like this.
Joan Didion (Vintage)
Contemporary Cuba can’t be fully understood without examining Miami. InMiami, the grandmaster of immersive, observational, intellectual reporting pulls the city and its Cuban-American population, their hopes, fears, and passions, into delicious, lyrical, Didion-esque focus.
King of Cuba
Cristina Garcia (Scribner)
This is a novel, but it’s the novel that best captures the impassioned perspectives of the people who might be, on both sides of the Straits, less than pleased with the…
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