The same day of February 1996 when the Cuban Army shoots down two civilian airplanes over the Caribbean, a commercial flight departing from Miami towards the Bahamas is kidnapped and forced to land in the island. Before returning the aircraft and the hostages back to their destiny, the Cuban authorities question the identity of one passenger. The transcripts of her interrogation are intertwined with the entries of the diary of a young idealistic Havana native girl who grew up in the tumultuous eighties. With nods to A Thousand and One Nights, T.S. Eliot, Jorge Luis Borges, the Cuban canon, Argentinian pop-rock, chess and revolutionary kitsch —among other tropical diseases—, The Cuban Opening weaves a tapestry with the lives of these two women. The task of the interrogators —and the readers— is to find out how they are connected.
In a fit of nostalgia, after thirteen years living as a “free man,” Enrique Martin abandons common sense, his third wife and his life in Spain to return to Cuba. Once on the island, he tries to get closer to his son, David, who is struggling to make do on his teacher’s salary and is harassed by policemen who brand him a “citizen with characteristics.”
Amidst televised speeches, ration cards, buildings on the verge of collapse, sun, sand, sea foam, censorship, intolerance and other tropical substances, a good cop, a bad cop, several Marias, a Jazz quartet, an idealistic teacher, child molesters, an alleged Dominican, an Australian with strong thighs, drug lords, suicides, pornographers, revolutionaries and a varied list of criminals gather in these pages. All they have in common is one question: where are the emergency exits in Havana?
Retrato expresionista de una isla
Una isla: una mascota, un esperpento,
un traidor, un sociópata, un amigo,
una esquina, una lápida, un testigo,
un crimen, un recuerdo, un monumento,
un rencor, unos miedos, una playa,
una brisa, un dolor, un libro abierto,
una sombra, unos gritos, algún puerto,
una madre, una balsa, una batalla,
unas tardes acaso irrepetibles,
un olvido, una fuga, una silueta,
un pariente, unos golpes, una infancia,
una culpa, un perdón ineludibles,
un desmayo, una celda, una glorieta,
un adiós y por siempre una distancia.
I loved Salidas de emergencia!!!! Three thumbs up. This book kept me at the edge of my seat and I could not put it down until I was done. It brought back so many forgotten corners of Havana, so many of my now gone fears from when I lived there, the smells and sounds of the city that I love and miss, but also learned to hate. If you are Cuban, its pages will bring you right back to where you left. If you are not, it is a great insight into what life in Cuba is for the vast majority.
Thank you and Kudos for you Alexis for an excellent job. Please keep them coming.
Awesome, chico! And I hope to get my second copy soon… 🙂