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The Other Side of Paradise: Life in the New Cuba Paperback – April 1, 2014

4.1 out of 5 stars 111 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

As the title suggests, this is a rather dreary portrait of post-Fidel Cuba. Cooke is a journalist and teacher at the New School in New York. Her observations are the result of living in Cuba and interacting with a variety of ordinary Cuban citizens over a five-year period. Her account is absorbing, touching, but certainly depressing. As described here, Cuba is a postrevolutionary culture in which the fires of revolution have burned out. So largely gone is the optimism, the spirit of community and self-sacrifice, and the belief in the creation of “the new socialist man.” What remains, unfortunately, is the political repression, stifling bureaucracy, and material deprivation. Cooke’s narrative includes wonderful vignettes covering the daily lives of Cubans in which their hopes, dreams, and frustrations are revealed. Lucia, a well-educated and relatively privileged young woman, sees little future for herself in Cuba and hopes to emigrate. So does Sandra, a street-smart prostitute who refutes government claims to have ended “exploitation.” But there are snippets of optimism, as citizens bravely and brazenly complain about their government. --Jay Freeman

Review

"This irresistible gander at Cuba today features the liveliest prose and the sharpest eye for detail. The contradictions and improvisatory adjustments within this strange society are brought home through a series of vital portraits by the author, Julia Cooke, whose sympathy never gets in the way of her search for the elusive truth."
--Phillip Lopate

"Cooke introduces a world that somehow makes sense in its lack of reason, as understood by American readers. An excellent taste of Cuba today, without tourist plans or political agenda."
--Kirkus Reviews

"With top-notch reporting and an eye for detail, Cooke dives deeply into post-Fidel Cuba to deliver an intimate, exuberant, poignant account of lives spent waiting for change."
--Elisabeth Eaves, author of Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents

"In a series of nimble profiles, Cooke expertly documents what is likely to be the last generation of the lost youth of Cuba-the teens of the transition, with all their contradictions, sorrows, and calluses. The Other Side of Paradise is a tear-through read, full of vitality and compassion."
--Deb Olin Unferth, author of Revolution

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Seal Press (April 1, 2014)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 248 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1580055311
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1580055314
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 7.9 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.5 x 0.75 x 8.25 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.1 out of 5 stars 111 ratings

Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5
111 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on May 29, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on May 27, 2014
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Reviewed in the United States on April 24, 2014
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Reviewed in the United States on June 29, 2016
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Reviewed in the United States on June 26, 2016
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Reviewed in the United States on November 2, 2016
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Reviewed in the United States on November 15, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on August 20, 2017
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Top reviews from other countries

BW
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect cuba holiday read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 26, 2016
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4 people found this helpful
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Jean
4.0 out of 5 stars A generation in waiting. Young Cubans post-Fidel.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 11, 2017
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7 people found this helpful
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Pippa
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting but rather poor writing.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 3, 2016
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2 people found this helpful
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j
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed this book reminded me of my trip to Cuba in parts
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 8, 2018
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Y. Yordanov
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 22, 2016
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