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The Other Side of Paradise

The Other Side of Paradise

Author(s): Julia Cooke

Location(s): Cuba (Republic of)

Genre(s): Travelogue

Era(s): 2000s

Location

Content

Change looms in Havana, Cuba’s capital, a city electric with uncertainty yet cloaked in cliche, 90 miles from U.S. shores and off-limits to most Americans. Journalist Julia Cooke, who lived there at intervals over a period of five years, discovered a dynamic scene: baby-faced anarchists with Mohawks gelled with laundry soap, whiskey-drinking children of the elite, Santeria trainees, pregnant prostitutes, university graduates planning to leave for the first country that will give them a visa. This last generation of Cubans raised under Fidel Castro animate life in a waning era of political stagnation as the rest of the world beckons: waiting out storms at rummy hurricane parties and attending raucous drag cabarets, planning ascendant music careers and black-market business ventures, trying to reconcile the undefined future with the urgent today. Eye-opening and politically prescient, The Other Side of Paradise offers a deep new understanding of a place that has so confounded and intrigued us.

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Book Reviews

Lead Review

The author visited Cuba several times in the 2000s and this is the result. A look behind the tourist facade – a must read for anyone going to Cuba

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Enter the 2021TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition!

A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

Winning entry published on TripFiction site and publicised on Social Media

Entries close 6th November 2021