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Since Columbus arrived in 1492 and called Cuba “the most beautiful country that human eyes have ever seen,” few places on earth have evoked such passion. The thirty-one writers in Cuba in Mind offer ample proof of the fascinations that have lured generations of travelers.
In this richly varied anthology of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, we hear from such famous visitors as Anthony Trollope, Langston Hughes, Ernest Hemingway, and Graham Greene. Poets and journalists offer their responses, from Allen Ginsberg and Jayne Cortez to Alma Guillermoprieto and Robert Stone; and novelists weigh in with such fictional portrayals as Elmore Leonard’s Cuba Libre and Pico Iyer’s Cuba and the Night. Cuban exiles, immigrants, and their offspring provide their unique perspective, from Cristina García’s essay “Simple Life” to excerpts from Oscar Hijuelos’s novel The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love and from Carlos Eire’s memoir Waiting for Snow in Havana. Embracing salsa and santeria, politics and baseball, the island’s sparkling beaches and the teeming Havana streets, Cuba in Mind captures the vibrancy, the contradictions, the heat and the humor of Cuba as shown by some of the best writers in the English language.