fax from honduras

Friday, March 14

tee hee! it's a bad joke, i know, but i can't control these impulses.

Telex from Cuba is not only a catchy title, but an ambitious first novel by Rachel Kushner. set in the 1950s and detailing the tumultuous transitions from Batista's presidency to Castro's coup, it bounces from narrator to narrator. children in the United Fruit-controlled towns Nicaro and Preston; an Eastern European prostitute at the Club Tokio; a French ex-Waffen arms dealer; pretty much every perspective except for that of a Cuban is represented. it's an interesting choice, and i think it works in this novel -- Kushner writes with great strength about foreign perspectives, foreign intervention, and their impact. there's a little unevenness of voice, because of this incredibly ambitious and intricate dialogue, but that's not uncommon in a first novel.

you won't learn anything new about Castro (well, maybe you will, not all of us were history majors), but you will be drawn into the web that Kushner weaves, and sad when the story has spun itself out. get this one in hardback -- i foresee great things from her, and you'll want a first edition!