HAVANA: A SUBTROPICAL DELIRIUM
He’s made bestsellers of such unlikely subjects as salt and cod, so I picked up Mark Kurlansky’s latest, on the Cuban capital of Havana, with high anticipation. And an excellent job he’s done, evoking a city of heat and history, music and politics, pirates and slaves and prostitutes – a place both gloriously colonial and hopelessly ramshackle which is nonetheless “the most romantic city in the world”. Travellers have heard for years that one must “get there before Castro goes”, before tourism takes over, but Havana reminds us of how many lives this city has had since Christopher Columbus, in 1492, sailed the ocean blue to declare Cuba “the most beautiful that eyes have ever seen”. The book is beautifully packaged with the author’s own drawings.