Cuba Paperback – 1 Apr 2004
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'Emily Barr has pulled off this compelling story of what happens when things become too Single White Female so effectively, we're thinking maybe her best friend should start to watch her back' Heat 10/6/03 (Heat)
'A warmly engaging novel of genuine quality' Publishing News (Publishing News)
'Emily Barr is carving out a successful niche combining fiction with travel writing - and this latest novel is no exception...An exciting read with some evocative description' Sunday Mirror 8/6/03 (Sunday Mirror)
'Alex Garland for girls' Kirkus Reviews 15/1/04 (Kirkus Reviews)
'Heartfelt descriptions of post-university drift, new motherhood and sunny Cuba. A great book for the Cuban tourist board' Guardian 22/5/04 (Guardian) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
'We can't praise Emily Barr's novels enough; they're fresh, original and hugely readable' Glamour--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition. See all Product description
Top customer reviews
I'm not a fast reader but read this book in 3 days and just couldn't put it down. Absolutely loved it!!
You go through lots of ups and downs with maggie and the ending is really good! wasn't dissapointed at all.
Barr's style is relaxed and fluid and the effect is an utterly compelling story which starts innocently enough (perfect couple, plus new baby, in Brighton argue over foreign sabbatical plans, downstairs neighbour living a seedier lifestyle provides sharp contrast to their comfortable world-view) but one is quickly drawn into a more complex, dark and ambiguous narrative when the story moves to Cuba.
There is little more of the plot one can mention without giving too much away; Barr's skill seems to be in turning one's assumptions and judgments about people on their head, and then back again, in the context of humane and sensitive characterisations. All this set in a Havana so well represented that I feel I've lived there myself for a period.
In summary, a gripping book with all the best traits of Barr's earlier novels (sharp sense of humour, spot-on eye for the contradictions and compromises in the lives of twenty-first century westerners, excellent but unobtrusive travel writing, and compelling plot). All misleadingly wrapped up in a mills & boon cover - someone should have a word...
If you are looking for a good read set against the backdrop of iconic cities - Brighton and Havana both fulfill this criteria for me - you will enjoy this.
All the characters are recognisable and I can imagine sitting round the bean bags at my local mother and baby group listening to someone telling this story and completely believing it happened.
Some will love this, some won,t. I did - if you are a mum, havent travelled and wished you had, I think you will love this too.
And if, like me, you dream of chucking in your job and travelling the world, but dont have the courage to do it, reading Emily's books will take you there for a while and might just inspire you to go for it.
Maggie Wilson is pretending that she is happy living in Brighton working at American Express and preparing for the arrival of her niece or nephew. In reality, she is working as a stripper and cannot stand the idea of a new addition to her family due to an issue that occurred in her childhood. For those of you familiar with Barr's works, you will spot a pattern with this and most of her other books. Whilst testing out some baby monitors in her flat, she discovers that she can hear what is going on in the upstairs flat. Libby and David's lives are so much more fascinating than Maggie's life so when they uproot themselves to Cuba for a few months, Maggie follows them.
The character of Maggie intrigues me and horrifies me in equal measure. In fact, sometimes I cannot help but feel sympathetic towards her given her circumstances and other times I want to wring her and say "get a grip on yourself." The idea of not knowing how I will feel about Maggie from one reading of this book to the next keeps this book fresh for me even though I know the outcome. The twist at the end is still shocking no matter how many times I read it. Even going back through the book, although Maggie's more sinister side is more obvious there are no clear signs of how the book will end.
It was this book that got me into Emily Barr's books and got me more into the thriller genre in general. For those of you who have read some of Barr's other books, this is a recommended read even though it follows a similar structure to her other books. I think that Maggie was the inspiration for the character of Helen in Emily Barr's later book 'The Sisterhood', but this still has plenty of surprises.
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