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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable read, 5 Nov 2013
This review is from: Living Inside the Revolution - An Irish woman in Cuba (Kindle Edition)
I read this book after my first trip to Cuba. Karen McCarthy's experiences are consistent with the stories my
Cuban friends have told me. McCarthy writes well and engages you from the beginning, taking you to the island with her. This report cuts through the propaganda and paints an image of what life in Cuba is like for a foreigner. However, she also attempts to describe the very different lives that Cubans have in comparison. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What happened to the Cuban revolution?, 5 Feb 2013
This review is from: Living Inside the Revolution - An Irish woman in Cuba (Kindle Edition)
This unusual autobiography is both personal and political, so at first it is difficult to tell where it is going. McCartney obviously approves of the Cuban revolution, and there is quite a lot about its history. As you read, her great affection for ordinary Cuban people comes through. The houses they live in, the work they do, the pressure they are under to do things to support the state and "the Revolution" when they obviously don't care for it at all. Things have changed since Castro's early days of glory.

There are some amazing stories here, such as the brilliant translator who dies from the effects of bat droppings. Or the woman living on a mountain miles from anywhere who survives on a business looking after people's nails. And the moment when a local magician cuts off the author's clothes with scissors.

The author worked for the government newspaper "Granma" as a translator, then later as a tourist guide, so she gets to know many different kinds of people, from Communist Party fixers (some not at all nice), to ordinary Cubans, most of them great people having a hard time. You soon realise that everybody is on the fiddle. It's not wrong - it's a necessity.

The author gets involved with a Cuban anaesthetist called Alexis, who sounds like a monster. He cleverly deceives her about his intentions, and it is not until the desperately moving Epilogue, set in Madrid, that we realize he has used the author's affection to arrange his escape from Cuba to Spain. I have not read anything so moving for a long time.

Energy and vitality is everywhere. There is a terrific description of a hurricane hitting the building in which the author lives, and she is very good on awful shops. This is Cuba from below, with riveting details of daily life, bad sex, office politics, street life and rural idiocy. Karen McCartney has made the most of her unusual experiences: who else has lived like this?

If you want to know the truth about ordinary life in Cuba in the early 2000s, and what has happened to the Revolution under Castro, download this. There is surely nothing like it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good insight, 29 July 2013
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This review is from: Living Inside the Revolution - An Irish woman in Cuba (Kindle Edition)
Following travelling to Cuba personally I wanted to gain further understanding about the hidden side of the country which this book truly delivers
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5.0 out of 5 stars To an Irish woman living in Cuba, 19 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Living Inside the Revolution - An Irish woman in Cuba (Kindle Edition)
Reading this book, Living Inside the Revolution, is akin to lifting the iron curtain and taking a peek at what everyday life must be like for the average Cuban. Karen McCartney describes a society where petty bureaucracy, shortages, secrecy and poverty are the daily challenges that must be faced by the Cuban people. No wonder the mood on the island swings between a grim determination to survive and outright despair. In a highly readable, fast-paced narrative, she gives us a somewhat confessional account of her experiences and adventures in Havana during the last years of Fidel Castro's rule. So, if you are thinking of a trip to Cuba yes, buy a good guide book, but take Living Inside the Revolution too if you want know how Cubans really live. This is a great book; my only criticism is that it is too short, given that the author says she lived in Havana for six years.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Living inside the revolution is a superb reflection of life in Cuba, real life, 20 Aug 2012
This review is from: Living Inside the Revolution - An Irish woman in Cuba (Kindle Edition)
This book is really fair and real and beautifully written. The subject matter is close to my heart, for I too share some of the experience in this book. I just know, it is incomplete through necessary omission, for we, over here, will never face the true realities of Cuba and living out life there as is required of every citizen of that island.
Thank you Karen, I am now in the half way place of great sadness and a sense of great privilege .. privilege for having some idea of what you deal with in this book. A great read and I would think, the best I have yet read on Cuba, as it is somehow, accessible to my Irish mind. I cannot recommend it more highly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cuba, 23 Jun 2012
This review is from: Living Inside the Revolution - An Irish woman in Cuba (Kindle Edition)
Living Inside the Revolution - An Irish woman in Cuba is a highly enjoyable and also educational read about a country that few travellers know much about. I felt when I was reading it that I was getting a peek behind the scenes, finding out what life is like for average Cubans, and there's a lot of hardhsip there. That's important for travellers who like to venture of the beaten track, wander off the dazzling Cuban beaches, and get an insight into this society. If you want to know what happens to a woman from Ireland when she goes off to live in Cuba, read this book. It will surprise and maybe even shock you.
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