Saturday, February 28, 2004

Like Guillermoprieto's reportage ... Dancing With Cuba is a pleasure to read, full of humanity, sly humor, curiosity and knowledge.... She uses dance as a lens through which to explore the aspirations and injustices and contradictions of a whole society. It's a fresh and lively perspective....

As a memoirist she manages some difficult terrain. Somehow, she conveys the intense and immediate feelings of youth while at the same time objectifying her 20-year-old self as a character in a story she is telling. Mostly, she stays in the moment she is narrating, avoiding the unspoken, apologetic "had I but known" that can make a memoir feel sketchy and drained of life. Thus the Castro she describes is a despot, but also an engaging, enthusiastic personality whose secretive love life is the source of fascination to Alma and her friends and whose famously long speeches strike them--and hundreds of thousands of Cubans--as actually pretty interesting.

-- From Katha Pollitt's review of Alma Guillermoprieto's memoir Dancing with Cuba in tomorrow's NY Times Book Review (link good for only a week or so).

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