Virtuoso Life - July/August 2018 - 94
Supper club: The author's group at
La Guarida and (right) a steak entree
from the celebrated paladar's menu.
Titles to make you crave a Cuba libre cocktail.
V I RT U O S O L I F E
I love to read books set in a
destination where I'm traveling. While I aspire to read
them before a trip, the books
are even more enjoyable after my return. I can envision
places mentioned because
I've actually been there, and
they extend my vacation
memories that much longer.
THE CUBAN AFFAIR
BY NELSON DEMILLE
Posing as tourists, a Cuban American woman and a
former military vet try to recover a $60 million treasure
the woman's grandfather
left behind when he fled the
Revolution. Don't try this on
your own trip to Havana.
BY THOMAS SANCHEZ
This novel explores the glamorous but corrupt Havana
heyday of the 1950s. When
a bomb destroys a popular
nightclub on New Year's Eve
in 1957, the lead character
sets out to solve the mystery
and gets caught up in revolutionary politics.
THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA
BY ERNEST HEMINGWAY
No Cuba reading list would be
complete without Papa, who
wrote seven books while living
outside Havana. He won a Pulitzer Prize for this novel about
an elderly Cuban fisherman.
THE GOOD ASSASSIN
BY PAUL VIDICH
This fictional CIA drama plays
out in 1958, just before Fidel
Castro comes to power.
OUR MAN IN HAVANA
BY GRAHAM GREENE
Set in Havana during the Fulgencio Batista regime in the
1950s, this Cuban spy novel
targets British espionage with
a black-comedy twist. It was
made into a movie in 1959.
(GROUP) NATASHA FORCADE GÓMEZ, (DISH) MATT MAY/ALAMY
says, three collapse every day. The disrepair
continues, he pointed out, because paint
alone eats up a huge percentage of the $25
monthly salary the average citizen earns.
He exemplified the Habaneros we met-
including Alain, our dedicated, knowledgeable guide - who were all welcoming,
open, and articulate (thanks to statesubsidized education, Cuba has a literacy
rate topping 98 percent, one of the highest in the world). They're also resilient
and resourceful, since generations have
endured long queues for limited government rations and repurpose and repair
material goods to make them last (those
vintage cars, for example). They shrug at
the dichotomy of their predicament, and
though they acknowledge governmental shortcomings, patriotism prevails.