Mark Kurlansky visited Cuba for the first time in 1982. Since then, he felt in love with the island and its people. His recently released book Havana, a subtropical delirium describes the city and its history taking a look at it from the distance.
Kurlansky walks through the city and tries to understand the present living rhythm based on what happened in the city some centuries ago. He tells the story of how the rich moved as they grew richer from Old to Center Havana, from Center Havana to Vedado, and from Vedado to Miramar, leaving their beautiful buildings behind for the lower classes, which could not afford their maintenance. Since 1959, the majority of the buildings were left to embrace the salty Caribbean breeze.
in this book, Kurlansky tells the story of the city’s buildings, the aristocracy that owned them and the slaves that built them, the story of class and racial relationships in society that is crucial to understand what is happening in Havana today.
With the government’s opening up options for tourism, Havana is being visited by foreigners like never before. Its music, food, baseball games, old American cars, and sensuality, by one hand, and the lack of air conditioning and poor infrastructure, by the other, all is open now. Havana has been the Forbidden City and many people may have the desire to discover it before Disneyland and Macdonald arrive.