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Telex from Cuba

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  3,557 Ratings  ·  589 Reviews
RACHEL KUSHNER HAS WRITTEN AN ASTONISHINGLY wise, ambitious, and riveting novel set in the American community in Cuba during the years leading up to Castro's revolution a place that was a paradise for a time and for a few. The first Novel to tell the story of the Americans who were driven out in 1958, this is a masterful debut.

Young Everly Lederer and K.C. Stites come of a
Hardcover, 322 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by Scribner
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Jul 27, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-lit, read-2017
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.
Jul 02, 2009 rated it liked it
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 it.

Perhaps the most difficult thing about the novel's structure
Sep 03, 2008 rated it liked it
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-climactic.

However, 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.
Jun 09, 2011 rated it did not like it
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 different.

I checked this book out of the library a few months ago. It has been sitting on my drawer for quite a while now, and so I finally picked it up and started on it. It started quite ok, but it stayed flat. In short, it was quite painful to finish, although I didn't skip the chapters, and faithfully read until the end. When I finis
Aug 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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 bar
Summer Smith
Feb 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016
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 amok.

Beginning 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, n
Mar 26, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
This was a book club pick from the finalists for the National Book Award. I really can't imagine why. While the descriptions of a pre-Castro Cuba were good and the story of the American families interesting, the whole mess with the dancer and her ties to the underworld were a major distraction. I still would like to know what point she was making in having the dancer's name be Rachel K. An author doesn't give her character her own name without some sort of reason and I could never find out what ...more
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 try.

It's just not as good.

Which is strange to say because I'd say these books are almost identical in so
Cheryl A
Sep 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
Told mainly through the reminisces of K.C. Stites, son of the manager of United Fruit Company and Everly Lederer, daughter of the new manager of the US government owned nickel mining operation, this is a very lyrically written novel of privilege, proverty and politics in Cuba in the late 1950's. The author gives an excellent overview of the activities of the Batista and Prio governments of Cuba and the rise of the rebels in Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic - not as a history lesson, but to ...more
Vanessa Wu
Aug 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was going to start this review by saying that this novel gives the lie to anyone who says you can't teach people to write.

Of course you can teach people to write. You can teach people to drive, which is a lot harder than writing. You can teach them to build bridges across impossible spaces, put up those massive, bristling skyscrapers in New York and Shanghai, get oil from the desert, make rockets and missiles and sell them to countries worse off than you so they can almost but not quite destr
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Play Book Tag: Telex from Cuba / Rachel Kushner. 2.5 stars 1 11 Aug 05, 2017 02:56PM  
personal experience relating to your enjoyment of your reading 1 4 Mar 31, 2015 11:56AM  
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Rachel Kushner’s second novel, THE FLAMETHROWERS, was a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award and a New York Times bestseller and Notable Book. Her debut novel, TELEX FROM CUBA, was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, winner of the California Book Award, and a New York Times bestseller and Notable Book. Kushner is the only writer ever to be nominate ...more
More about Rachel Kushner...
“Documenting life as it happened seemed like a way of not experiencing it. As if posing for photographs, or focusing on what to save and call a souvenir, made the present instantly the past. You had to choose one or the other was Everly’s feeling. Try to shape a moment into a memory you could save and look at later, or have the moment as it was happening, but you couldn’t have both.” 5 likes
“She believed that people are born every minute of their lives, and what they are in each of those minutes is what they are completely.” 3 likes
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