Ay, Cuba! A Socio-Erotic Journey
With photographs by David Graham
St Martin's Press, 1999
During a historic visit to Cuba--on the eve of Pope John Paul II's own trip-National Public Radio's Andrei Codrescu and photographer David Graham turned an unsparing but compassionate gaze upon Cuba. Registering the architecture, the bizarre two-tier economy of peso and dollar, the revivals of both Catholicism and the Afro-Cuban religion of santeria, and the sexual and social mores of a post-cold war communist society, Codrescu's words and Graham's photographs offer a vision of Cuba's brutally stark and sometimes tragic reality, as seen through the fascinating prism of Codrescu's own eccentric genius.
This portrait of a nation continually on the edge of history and politics will surprise and enlighten American readers, who have been misled by intransigent ideologues on both the right and the left. Indeed, Codrescu and Graham have transcended the often-petty American prejudices about Cuba, and have engaged the island nation's people on a level of intimacy that has never been seen before.
Through interviews with Cuban architects, writers, hustlers, prostitutes, and common working folk, Ay, Cuba! reveals a passionate society deeply in conflict with itself. This is not a cold, cross-sectioned study of Cuba, but rather a highly personal, human portrait of a proud, musical, smart, and sexy people.
Ay, Cuba! is thus a provocative reassessment of a world both familiar and unbearably exotic, only ninety miles from the coast of Florida, by one of America's most gifted social critics.
Praise for Andrei Codrescu and David Graham
"Andrei Codrescu is a startlingly original explainer of places who manages to be as entertaining as he is perceptive... The perfect traveling companion." - John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
"[Codrescu is] one of our most prodigiously talented and magical writers." - The New York Times Book Review
"Heady, silly, bombastic, and right-on, Codrescu in print is just as affecting as he is on air." --The Washington Post