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The book truly comes to life as narrated by Lloyd James, a veteran of more than 400 audiobooks. James uses his even, soothing baritone to create a sense of momentum and suspenseno small feat in a novel written mostly in third person description, with bits of dialogue few and far between. Pauses, both subtle and pronounced, accomplish the significance. "He liked the diaphanous allure of fishnets. They were"pause"an enticement in the guise of a barrier," he reads during the first meeting of the arms dealer and the burlesque dancer. When there is dialogue, James alters his tone, making clear what the author intends that character to represent (strength, stupidity, tragedy). With many characters narrating and few ways to distinguish them through dialogue, Telex can be a bit challenging to follow, but for those who do, there's a real pay-off: The colorful imagery and masterful analogies Kushner sprinkles liberally throughout her tale recreate a historical time with a love and understanding, for both sides, rarely seen. Kelly Marages
At the time, urgent news was conveyed by telex. Kushner's first novel is a tour de force, haunting and compelling, with the urgency of a telex from a forgotten time and place.
"Gorgeously written.... An imaginative work that brings Cuban-American history to life." ( Kirkus Reviews)
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Magin La Grave on 11-26-08
Nostalgic and great history
A nostalgic introspectic tale of a young american living in the great time of Cubas revolution. Credible characters with a social raw truth of the era. Very well delivered.
33 of 36 people found this review helpful
By Joel on 05-09-09
Not as good as I'd hoped
Telex from Cuba is set in pre-revolutionary Cuba, which attracted me to the book right away. I find Cuban culture and history fascinating and I therefore had high hopes for Telex. However, I was disappointed.
Kushner's characters are purported to be the main draw to this novel, but I found them to be generally uninteresting with the exception of the Stites. The historical events are barely commented on at all and what we're left with is a very slow-moving book. For every few lines of actual plot advancement, we're subjected to pages of the characters' thoughts. Some might enjoy this style, but I found that it made the book interminable. In fact, there were multiple times near the end when I found myself thinking that the book was over but being disappointed to discover that it went on.
The narrator that was chosen is dull and somewhat monotone. Seeing as this book is set in Cuba, I would have thought that someone who had a basic ability to pronounce Spanish words would have been selected, but in this I was disappointed. He butchers the Spanish throughout the novel, whether the words were those of the Americanos or of the Cubans.
In fact, the narrator was responsible for the most disappointing part of the novel: the climax. Just as Fidel ends his revolutionary speech, the crowd erupts in "Viva Castro! Viva la revolucion!" However, in delivering this dramatic moment, the narrator in all honesty sounded like a lisping Scooby Doo. It was uninspiring to say the least.
I considered rating this book one star for the fact that Kushner took the liberty to involve Fidel in a homosexual episode. However, for the parts that involved the Stites, which were genuinely compelling, I gave it two instead.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful