Telex from Cuba

Telex from Cuba❮BOOKS❯ ⚣ Telex from Cuba Author Rachel Kushner – Finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction The debut novel by New York Times bestselling author Rachel Kushner called “shimmering” The New Yorker “multilayered and absorbing” The New Yor Finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction The debut novel by New York Times bestselling author Rachel Kushner called “shimmering” The New Yorker “multilayered and absorbing” The New York Times Book Review and “gorgeously written” Kirkus ReviewsYoung Everly Lederer and KC Stites come of age in Telex from PDF/EPUB ² Oriente Province where the Americans tend their own fiefdom—three hundred thousand acres of United Fruit Company sugarcane that surround their gated enclave If the rural tropics are a child's dreamworld Everly and KC nevertheless have keen eyes for the indulgences and betrayals of the grown ups around them—the mordant drinking and illicit loves the race hierarchies and violence In Havana a thousand kilometers and a world away from the American colony a cabaret dancer meets a French agitator named Christian de La Mazière whose seductive demeanor can't mask his shameful past Together they become enmeshed in the brewing political underground When Fidel and Raúl Castro lead a revolt from the mountains above the cane plantation torching the sugar and kidnapping a boat full of yanui revelers KC and Everly begin to discover the brutality that keeps the colony humming Though their parents remain blissfully untouched by the forces of history the children hear the whispers of what is to come Kushner's first novel is a tour de force haunting and compelling with the urgency of a telex from a forgotten time and place. Privilege A Theory Inspired by Rachel KushnerRachel Kushner has done an outstanding job presenting an informed intriguing concise but nuanced explanation for the Cuban Revolution in a highly accomplished work of fiction Her story although it references all of these doesn’t focus on politics or ideology or personalities The dominant theme is privilege and how it manifests itself in its practice and in its demise And like most good literature the importance of this theme and the implicit analysis of it goes far beyond the specifics of Cuba and the United Fruit Company’s involvement in the country Her story speaks for itself; but I would like to pay it a tribute by suggesting a general interpretationPrivilege is a form of power that reuires a a particular kind of community in which to be exercised Privilege exists in a world which is defined by explicit social and economic commitments among identifiable individuals In turn the privileged community must exist within a larger society which does not share its privileges Although the privileged community may act benignly even charitably toward the rest of its surrounding society its loyalty is always to itself Thus the meaning of privilege only becomes clear when there is a conflict between the interests of the privileged community and society Community members will always act in the interests of fellow members This is the operational definition of privilegeEmployees of multinational corporations are members of a privileged community The degree of privilege enjoyed depends largely upon the importance of the company involved not to the society in which it operates but rather to the government of that society which acts effectively as a business partner This relationship between the multinational and the government may be obscured by the complex technical details of regulatory and other legal arrangements but these are the substance of the contract negotiated between the two parties And implicit in this contract is the degree of privilege enjoyed by multinational employeesThe existence of privileged corporate communities is universal They exist in socialist as well as capitalist countries in social democracies and dictatorships in religious as well as secular societies In this sense at least the world is corporate It is organised and managed by privileged communities which are in or less continuous negotiation with national governments For a variety of reasons continuity of leadership commercial incentive the availability of legal and technical skills the reliability of personal progression among others the corporate privileged corporate community has a permanent advantage in all negotiations with government The members of the privileged community rarely see themselves as privileged They may perceive that their role in society is say one of increasing commercial efficiency or technological innovation as in modern America or of bringing the infrastructure of civilisation to less developed societies as in the now defunct British Empire or one of promoting what is to them a manifestly superior culture as with many current Chinese companies Regardless of the diversity of self image adopted by members of the privileged community however their common factor is the dedication to the interests of the community to which they look for approval and rewardGiven its inherent negotiating superiority and internal stability the only external reuirement for the success of the privileged community is the reciprocal stability of the governmental system with which it negotiates It is the system not the individuals or the ideological commitments of parties or factions which is critical Everything remains negotiable as long as the system remains intact In this the interests of the privileged community and the government are exactly coincident Conseuently they will join forces whenever necessary to ensure that the ‘rules of the game’ remain unchanged This can easily degenerate into overt corruption but need not for the arrangement to work ‘profitably’ for both partiesThis situation involving the interests of the government and the privileged community is both the primary obstacle to radical governmental action and the primary stimulus to revolutionary upheaval The American and French Revolutions the various European civil conflicts of the mid nineteenth century indeed the American Civil War among others are commonplace examples of the phenomenon When the bond between privileged communities and governments is inadeuate to any longer control the rest of society revolution becomes inevitable Governmental systems collapse and privileged communities disperse to be replaced by a new system and a new privileged community As one literary revolutionary Kurt Vonnegut was fond of saying “And so it goes” I wanted to read this one after enjoying The Flamethrowers last year This one is very different an impressively detailed recreation of life in Cuba in the 1950s as the revolution was brewing It tells the stories of an odd mixture of characters mostly American colonists The most compelling voices are the children Inevitably the book is a little uneven but is well worth reading and an intriguing choice of subject for a first novel It took me a very long time to get through this book Normally if I am struggling this much I will move on; I'm not one to force myself through books life is too short and there's too much to read But I kept on with this because I had a sense that Kushner had a particular vision for this something very different from what I as a writer would try to do; and I wanted to find out what it was and how she was going to achieve itPerhaps the most difficult thing about the novel's structure and form for a reader is that there is no protagonist It seems to me that Kushner's main character is a certain time and place; a world not a person I've read many novels that shift in point of view and yet still provide the reader with a single voice that dominates even just slightly to guide the reader through Delillo's Underworld for example; or Toni Morrison's A Mercy In those instances the character who speaks in first person is usually the central characterIn the case of Telex the first person narrator KC Stites is not at all the most compelling or dominant character His I think is the weakest and least convincing voice; and he is the least interesting character This is probably a central reason for why I found it hard to connect with the story This world of Cuba on the verge of revolution that Kushner is rendering is so complex textured tentacled; I think she really needed an anchoring voice amidst the many many voices she portrays here She seems to not have been able to decide between KC Stites and Everly Lederer whose voice starts and ends the novel I think the book would have worked better if she'd committed to Everly an odd young girl at the time of the revolution who has a uirky curiosity and an interesting way of seeing things as the central voiceBut this world she gives us is indeed fascinating And the novel is smarter than I am which is another reason I kept with it On the sentence level Kushner is masterful And the sheer ambition of the book is very very impressive I have a sense that this book is probably a must read 5 star choice if Castro20th Century Cuban history is of interest to begin with; but for the general reader a rough entry I enjoyed reading about the 'drama' of the American families living in Cuba during the 1950'sI especially enjoyed the children35 rating the Political parts of the book did not 'flow' as much for me as the 'personal relationships' parts of the book did Pearl Ruled p8Daddy swore out loud and rushed to the garage where Hilton kept the company limousine a shiny black Buick We had two of them—Dynaflows with the chromed oval shaped ventiports along the front fendersDynaflow is a brand of transmission that Buick developed The car itself was a Buick Roadmaster If you don't get details such as this right I lose my sense that you're getting things important to the story things invisible to me correct; that means I get the sense that your novel's world is built on misunderstandings and faulty assumptionsFiction is made up It's not history A detail a grace note like a thirteen year old boy telling the reader that his dad was getting out the Buick is the world building that deepens the experience of reading a novel Unlike speculative fiction authors can not wave their hands and say it's my world so that's how it is This is January 1958 in Preston now Guatemala Cuba; a real place in a time many now alive remember Take care to research details or please don't deploy them Getting something that your point of view character is absolutely sure to know cold—he's being set up as a bog standard teen boy and in 1958 in the US imperial zone that meant he knew about cars or wasfunny—wrong is a signal to my overbooked eyes that this isn't the read for me This was well written book It was a page turner for the first half but then came to a screeching halt by the second half I felt it was boring and anti climacticHowever it was neat to read about this time period and I have never read ANYTHING about the Cuban revolution Although it is none of my business I wonder if the insinuations about Raul and Fidel's sexuality are true This book was mesmerizing beautifully written and truly evocative of the time and place of the story Kushner paints an indelible picture of life in the United Fruit company's outpost in Cuba her words creating a vivid portrait of a way of life in collapse The characters are wonderfully drawn and Cuba itself acts as a character in the novel Knowing that Kushner's mother lived through this tumultuous time in Cuba lends even greater reality to the narrative I picked this book up and could barely stand to put it down The book highlights the ineualities that helped lead to the revolution and the sadness of people on both sides when it didn't all work out as planned I highly recommend this book With language as lush as the tropics itself Kushner unfolds a political revolution and an embarrassing blotch on American history described as temptingly as a bountiful buffet spread or a botanical garden run amokBeginning the book through the eyes of children is a brilliant stroke The author shows their naïve view of Cuba like someone born into a cult who doesn’t know anything of the outside world Then we see American families moving to Cuba to improve their place in the class hierarchy not satisfied with degradation of middle management back in the States We are shown the class system at work in Cuba – from the lowest echelon the near indentured slaves the Jamaicans working the cane fields To the Cubans working the mine the servants working in the homes of the white Americans the Cuban landowners the white American rednecks who oversee the cane crushers in the field to the nickel mine managers and on up to the Executives at the American owned United Fruit Company The fruit company doesn’t grow fruit any just sugar cane at the expense of the natives’ back breaking labor The Executives live in expansive houses with wrap around porches and plush gardens They have servants for gardening cooking chauffeuring bartending haggling in the market and hosing down the house’s daily coat of Nickel factory residue Father runs the Company with an iron fist – or rather he hires an iron fist – and Mother is a “liberal” sympathetic to the poor individuals she comes across on her horseback riding excursions but not necessarily of the plight of the cane crushers in general She wouldn’t speak ill of The Company One tow headed brother runs off to join the rebels the other stays and is Mother’s golden boy The revolutionary action picks up when we meet a French agitator who will sell guns to all three of the warring sides just to make sure his trip to Cuba is worth his while Maziere has been around the world been with every kind of woman and seen every kind of war He’s a fascinating character – an antagonist that’s well drawn But the author indulges him with a little too much musing and slows the plot down While his motives for joining the SS are fascinating her historical research gets a little showy We know what’s coming – Revolt Kidnapping Strafe – and he’s a little too preoccupied with an aloof dancer from a Havana cabaret And speaking of why is she named Rachel K? Some of the American wives in TELEX FROM CUBA are beautiful but it’s the faux zazou dancer Rachel K that gets the lustiest descriptions the supplest breasts and the attention of every important man in Cuba it seems It feels like narcissism on the part of the author If the end seems unsatisfying I guess it’s because there’s been no real resolution to the American relationship with Cuba Life went on Still the characters the scenes set at beachside barbecues and the American country club the parties where Cuban presidents and the American businessmen mingle in finery without a hint of guilt builds such a vivid picture Reading this book is like watching a gorgeous movie and then watching the film catch fire and burn up broadcast on the big screen When it fades to white you want to start it again from the beginning just to watch it burn Rarely do I hate a book I do admit that there are books that simply do not capture my interest such as the previous book I have read But this one is a little differentI checked this book out of the library a few months ago It has been sitting on my drawer for uite a while now and so I finally picked it up and started on it It started uite ok but it stayed flat In short it was uite painful to finish although I didn't skip the chapters and faithfully read until the end When I finished I was than happy to return it to the libraryNow what could be wrong with this novel? Well to start with there was no character that seemed to be the protagonist Everyone had a chapter or two of their own None of the characters were likable It seemed that everyone was an enemy the Americans were enemies because they were sucking the life off Cuban land and living like they were having their own fiefdoms or the Cuban rebels for torching the sugar plantations and planning and executing the revolution Everyone seemed to be the enemy in this caseThe narration also shifted constantly from an omniscient point of view to the point of view of KC Stites which is a character not really major but not really minor either It was uite dizzying when the shifts occurred There were so many characters so many American families and other characters that I wished there was a genealogy chart in the beginning of the book instead of a map of Cuba It could have been a good historical novel but the spotlight was shown on multiple people that it was uite hard to keep track The book lacked a cohesive element except that everything was just set in CubaIf you like Cuban historical fiction go ahead and read this Otherwise I say pick up something else I recently read Rachel Kushner's The Flamethrowers and fell in love I have to admit that if I just saw her literary debut Telex from Cuba on the shelf without reading The Flamethrowers I probably wouldn't have been interested in reading it There's no good reason for that other than too many books and too little time but I am glad that I loved The Flamethrowers so much that I gave this a tryIt's just not as goodWhich is strange to say because I'd say these books are almost identical in so many ways Kushner is a fantastic writer and I can only be eager to see what she does with that writing as time goes by For a debut novel Telex from Cuba is pretty impressive both in style and in the story itself Kushner is a young writer yet she was able to capture life in Cuba in the 1950s so convincingly that if I didn't know better I'd think she maybe had these experiences herselfUsually I'm pretty good at pinpointing what it is in a book that doesn't work for me but unfortunately this time I'm having a hard time I think overall this smelled too much like The Flamethrowers that I don't feel it was strong enough as its own book to be amazing Maybe if I had read this one first I'd feel differentlyI had difficulty with perspective in this novel understanding whose point of view I was reading and their relationship to the other characters There were a few different storylines running simultaneously and bringing them all together in a nice bundle at the end felt a bit forced and tenuous The strongest of all the stories is the one of Everly Lederer and her sisters and that's the one that really should have made up this book that was its strengthStill this was good on it's own; it just didn't have the same impact on me that her second novel did It's all about experiences and I could relate to The Flamethrowers in a way that I wasn't able to connect to this one

Telex from Cuba PDF/EPUB ì Telex from  PDF/EPUB ²
  • Paperback
  • 336 pages
  • Telex from Cuba
  • Rachel Kushner
  • English
  • 17 December 2014
  • 9781416561040