Cuba on the Verge: An Island in Transition

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9780821228029: Cuba on the Verge: An Island in Transition

This anthology showcases the work of leading Cuban and American writers and photographers and offers an insight into life in the island nation today. While the world ponders Cuba's future and the United States weighs the effects of the trade embargo imposed more than 40 years ago, Cubans go about their everyday lives overcoming obstacles with a mixture of ingenuity, intelligence, perseverence and, above all else, a sense of humour. The book aims to be an honest and balanced portrayal of the complex realities of modern Cuban life. Essays and portfolios of images are linked to central themes including music, sexuality, architecture, Afro-Cuban culture, rural life and the role of women. The introduction by Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Kennedy, titled "Going to Cuba?", sets the stage for an array of visions and voices. An epilogue by playwright Arthur Miller, titled "Castro", concludes the book.

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About the Author:

William Kennedy, born in 1928, is author of ten novels including Legs and Ironweed, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize.
Arthur Miller, one of the leading dramatists of the twentieth century, published "On Politics and the Art of Acting" last fall. His play The Crucible is currently running on Broadway.
Terry McCoy is an editor, producer, curator, and documentary filmmaker. Her award-winning work has appeared on PBS, cable television, and in selected theaters.

From Publishers Weekly:

As Kennedy explains, this collection of essays and photographs by Cubans, Cubans in exile and interested Americans isn't so much about the politics of Cuba as "the consequence of politics to Cuba." While its structure is simple enough-short essays on themes like spirituality, the new middle class and rural life coupled with sets of photos, introduced by artists' statements-its texture is delightfully varied and idiosyncratic. In playwright Abelardo Estorino's comical "I Smoke Marlboros," a well-meaning gringo, a revolutionary servant and her formerly upper-class employer cross wits. The entry on Cuban music is a pastiche of interviews with stars Chucho Valdes and El Tosco, who both segue seamlessly into politics and history as they discuss music. There are straightforward autobiographical reflections, like Achy Obejas's thoughts on returning to Cuba and being mistaken for an American, and more philosophical meditations, such as Eduardo Rodriguez's essay on being a "casual stroller" through Old Havana's restorations and ruins. The photos following each entry are related thematically, but could stand alone as visual essays. Some, like Kattia Garcia Fayat's "Women in the New Cuba," speak a sensual language, where the subjects' gestures and postures communicate volumes; others, like Manuel Pina's offerings, unpeel time in the falling paint from walls and the frozen dignity of a once elegant parlor. The kaleidoscope of images-Virginia Beahan's breathtakingly empty landscapes, Sylvia Plachy's vibrant urban scenes, Abelardo Morell's haunting camera obscura projections of cityscapes on interiors-will open readers' eyes to a country not so much "third world" as "other world."
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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