Ordinary Lives in Extraordinary Times
A stunning work of reportage over three generation reveals the terrible lengths to which people must go to survive daily life in Cuba
'Moving and rich...overflowing with warmth and humanity' The Times
In this pioneering work of life-writing and reportage, Anthony DePalma reconstructs the interwoven stories of five ordinary citizens and their families to bring the true story of the Cuban people to the world.
From Castro's heyday, through the devastation of post-Soviet collapse, to the false dawn of recent years, we witness the hardships of life across six decades of socialist state control - where even today the government decides what work you can do and where you live; where food is rationed, and basic medicines are unavailable.
The Cubans maps a country where the revolution that once inspired its people has since tested their faith with tragedy and disillusionment, revealing the daily acts of heroism and the endlessly adaptive resilience that are required of them to survive.
'Page-turning...revealing and unputdownable' Claire Boobbyer, Cuba travel expert
'A deeply reported...account of Cuba's bittersweet realities' Financial Times
Praise for The Cubans
Think of this as an anti-Fidel corrective to the scores of volumes fixated on the ruler-for-life-force-of-nature-movie-star dictatorWashington Post Sunday
Vibrant and hugely enjoyable ... DePalma is a terrific reporter, with a novelist's eye for detail. He uses the extraordinary trust he has gained from his subjects to paint a vivid, deeply sympathetic picture of Cuban life, and the quiet fortitude of its peopleTelegraph
Remarkably revealing ... [DePalma] renders a Cuba few tourists will ever see ... You won't forget these people soon, and you are bound to emerge from DePalma's bighearted account with a deeper understanding of a storied islandThe New York Times
An immersive and compelling read ... DePalma wanted to 'reach beyond the myths, to show the real Cuba and the real Cubans who live there' ... In this, he has succeeded brilliantlyLiterary Review
A moving and rich account ... DePalma's book is overflowing with warmth and humanity - much like the Cuban peopleThe Times
DePalma's perceptive portrait of the lives of ordinary citizens, their hopes and inevitable disillusionment after 60 years of revolution ... is a deeply reported ... account of Cuba's bittersweet realitiesFinancial Times
DePalma's page-turning story reveals the voices of ordinary Cubans living through the Castro Revolution's checkered 60-year run. His richly detailed eye-opener offers a front-row seat on the triumphs and tribulations of Guanabacoa families and roller-coasters with emotion through moments of love, humor, pain and horror - witness the haunting account of the sinking of the 13 de Marzo tugboat, and a devastating drastic measure taken for a father suffering dementia. Revealing and unputdownable.Claire Boobbeyer