cover image Havana Real: One Woman Fights to Tell the Truth About Cuba Today

Havana Real: One Woman Fights to Tell the Truth About Cuba Today

Yoani Sanchez trans. from the Spanish by M.J. Porter. Melville (Random, dist.), $16.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-935554-91-2

In 2004, Sanchez returned to native country Cuba from Switzerland and made herself a promise: "[to] live in Cuba as a free person, and accept the consequences." She started Generation Y, a blog chronicling the island's "collective asphyxiation." Collected and translated here for the first time, Sanchez's award-winning blog is an example of raw journalism at its best, poignantly documenting country in which everything is scarce, from meat to Krazy Glue ("People are shouting from balcony to balcony%E2%80%A6they have Krazy Glue at the little shop"); a country in which everything is broken, from the education system to her crumbling apartment. But the wry humor she uses to cope with the lack of basic necessities is shockingly undercut when the Ministry of the Interior puts her under intense surveillance: "I feel a terror that almost doesn't let me type." Ultimately, she is kidnapped, beaten severely, and dumped in the street: "I am thinking about [my son] Teo%E2%80%A6 How am I going to tell him that we live in a country where this can happen? %E2%80%A6 [where] his mother has been beaten up on a public street for writing a blog?" Enlightening, engaging and brave, this is a must-read for anyone with an interest in Cuba%E2%80%94or for anyone who nurses romantic notions about this tiny, brutal communist state. (May)