“Cuba” – Alan West-Duran

The book starts off in a way you would expect from a university paper or a thesis on the topic of Cuba (not a good one though & which is not. a great. sign). The author dives directly into the deepest details while not giving you enough background on any of the subjects approached: Minute differences between writers like Martí & Casal being described, dozens of different names being thrown at you (for example ALL the famous Cuban composers), which don’t mean anything to you, if you’re new to the subject of Cuban culture & history. Only thanks to the book “Havana”, which I read right before, I was able to have a better understanding of why the author was approaching certain subjects (this other book, I absolutely suggest on the other hand!) 

This trend unfortunately continues on throughout the entire book. A film analysis that starts off in a promising way, goes so deep into the tiniest details that you think that you have landed in a completely different book altogether. 

The good side to the book was the topic of music, when very exact examples of certain songs from certain time periods were given to you, which were great to listen to while reading or to be able to take an even deeper dive into the subject. Some relevant book suggestions can be drawn out, with which you’d be able to continue your information search on Cuba (I became especially curious about the book “Planet for Rent” by Yoss, a Cuban sci-fi novel).

Unfortunately, in my opinion, the book doesn’t deserve anything more than 2 stars. It might be interesting for people who already have a broad knowledge on the country and would like to have more details on the topic of culture, not for anyone else though in my understanding.

★★☆☆☆ (2/5)

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