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Telex from Cuba Paperback – 2 Jun 2009

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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner Book Company; Reprint edition (2 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416561048
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416561040
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 594,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"Rachel Kushner’s debut novel is an absolute blinder... Like the sea which surrounds Cuba, Telex From Cuba is ever-shifting, and it is luminous" (The Times)

"If you relish glittering language that pursues emotional and political truth, you'll be enthralled by Telex from Cuba... the atmosphere seethes and crackles... [a] lush, intoxicating book" (Independent)

"Telex from Cuba is epic and enjoyable: the style is lush and precise; the parties and cookouts, the drinks and affairs are beautiful and poignant, full of the pleasures of wealth overshadowed by loss." (Anne Enright Guardian)

"Fascinating and vividly detailed... You can almost feel the heat radiating from the page: the air is mosquito-thick and tainted with a nickel oxide haze, the tropical landscape a character in its own right" (Observer)

"A piece of fiction quite breathtaking in its assurance […] a beautifully weighted treatise on colonial attitudes, capitalism, racism and the interactions and divisions between cultures and classes" (Billy O'Callaghan Irish Examiner)

"A lush, meticulous, cinematic debut novel" (Elle)

"Kushner evokes a dreamlike paradise... A poignant tale" (Antonia Charlesworth Big Issue)

"[Kushner's] cleverly counterposed registers and nuanced explanation of the way we make and remake ourselves elevates her book beyond the standard historical romp" (David Annand Sunday Telegraph)

"Detail-packed prose" (Glasgow Herald)

"Deeply evocative... A fascinating and vividly detailed portrait of the country" (Natasha Tripney Observer)

"An intriguing, multifaceted portrait of a society in flux" (David Evans Independent on Sunday)

"Massively compelling… Tough yet tender writing that throbs with history, nostalgia and love" (Bath Chronicle)

"It begs for a big-screen adaptation" (London Magazine)

"Telex from Cuba is a wonderful debut and essential reading for those who wish to follow the career of one of the best new writers of our generation" (Stephen Joyce Nudge)

"[Telex From Cuba] proves that this American author is a superstar of the future" (Nick Barley Herald) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

The New York Times bestselling debut novel by the author of the Folio Prize shortlisted The Flamethrowers --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kate Hopkins TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 11 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Kushner's first novel is an account of the Cuban Revolution, led by Fidel Castro, told largely from the point of view of the Americans living in Cuba in the 1950s, in particular a group living in Oriente Province who worked for the United Fruit Company and who mostly supported Cuba's tyrannical president Batista. Kushner has a vast cast of Americans, including two teenagers (K.C. Stites and Everly Lederer - why both the male Stites and the female Lederer have such androgynous Christian names in the 1950s I'm not sure), their parents and siblings, an unhappy wife who has a crush on a Cuban factory owner, a working-class American family who are trying their luck away from the USA and various other couples in various degrees of prosperity and right-wingery. There are also a couple of teen rebels - K.C.'s older brother Del, and a boy called Phillip Mackey - who sympathise with Castro's cause. Alongside their story runs another, set in Havana, which tells the adventures of Christian de La Maziere, a French aristocrat who joined the Nazis in World War II and is now offering his sympathy to Castro's men, without much caring for their cause, and a 'zazou' dancer called Rachel K, who pretends to be French but is in fact Cuban, who is spying for Castro, and sleeping with him, Batista and La Maziere. Kushner plays around with reality here, as La Maziere was a real person - but never in fact went to Cuba or was involved in the revolution.

Kushner describes Cuba in the 1950s immaculately, and I learnt a good deal about the politics of the time that I hadn't known before reading the book. She painted a convincing and interesting picture of ex-pat American life in Cuba, and of the seedy glamour of Havana.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Maggie Stewart on 4 Mar. 2009
Format: Hardcover
I started this book without a clue as to what it was about, as I like to approach a book fresh and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The writing is gorgeous, the story intense, even though I knew right from the start how it had to end, and the history, well let's just say it's a piece of history I didn't learn in school.

Much of the story takes place in the fine homes of the expatriates who run the United Fruit company based in Preston and the nickel mines in Nicaro in Cuba's Oriente province. A Poor Place for Cubans to live, not so for the Americans who lived in a kind of opulence which reminds one of the pre Civil War South in the United States. Like those Americans back then, these Americans don't mingle with those they perceive to be beneath them, many treat the Cubans like slaves. If the Americans only knew, only cared how the Cubans thought about them, maybe the story would have had a different ending.

Not only do the Americans think they are a class or two above the Cubans, but they separate themselves into classes as well. At the top of the heap are the Stiteses, headed by Malcolm Stites, the tough and brutal head of the United Fruit Company. Next in line are the Lederers who live in Nicaro and who's patriarch is the manager of the Nickel Mine. And then there is the Allains, who are poor refuges from Louisiana. However poor though they might have been their class status is infinitely higher than it would have been back in Cajun country.

Events in the country seem to go unnoticed by the Americans who live in their enclaves and, you know, Cuba then isn't the only place that happens. I have a friend who is a Geologist and he's told me stories about the Americans who lived in the expat compounds in Libya and I have to wonder if we can ever learn.
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By MM on 25 Aug. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Telex from Cuba gives a fascinating and sympathetic insight into the lives and attitudes of mostly non-Cubans living in Cuba before and during the revolution.
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By Pat foster on 16 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting on background history of Cuba which I didn'tt know anything about
Variety of characters
Perhaps a bit diffuse
Worth reading
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