HA­VANA: A SUB­TROP­I­CAL DELIR­IUM

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - BOOKS - by Mark Kurlan­sky, Blooms­bury.

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.

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