Saturday 18 February 2017

Rachel Kushner's ability to take a large difficult subject and make it personal, meaningful and funny appeals to me a lot. In Telex from Cuba the voices of her young protagonists, children looking on as mayhem descends, are vital and honest. This novel is a delicious insight into Cuba pre-Castro revolution; it is a Cuba financially dominated by American companies and their company men, by corrupt officials and a military dictatorship, a Cuba of one-up-manship and power games that ultimately turn in on themselves. It is also very funny - Kushner sends up the rebels, the Americans and the Cuban businessmen with aplomb, and yet it is also a tragedy on many levels - the son who is disenchanted, who joins the rebels in the jungle but in later years lives an uncomprehendingly conservative life in middle America; the teen who is Cuban-born but American, always looking from the outside, who yearns for what is missing; the girl who sees the injustice but is powerless; the complicated lives of paternalistic overseers who neither belong in their adopted country nor in their native one. The concepts of colonialism (cultural and financial), cheap labour, power struggle, political manipulation, corruption and class are played out convincingly within this novel. Kushner takes Cuba and her array of misfits and gives us a novel lush with description, full of violence and pleasure, and wonderfully absorbing. 
 {Reviewed by STELLA}

No comments:

Post a Comment