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Extended Audio Sample Telex from Cuba: A Novel Audiobook, by Rachel Kushner Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,188 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Rachel Kushner Narrator: Lloyd James Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2008 ISBN: 9781400178346
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Rachel Kushner's mother grew up in Cuba in the 1950s, in the United Fruit Company enclave where Telex from Cuba takes place. Calling on a rich trove of family letters, photos, meticulously kept journals, and historical research, Kushner sets free her brilliant imagination in this profoundly resonant story of a world that was paradise for a time and for a few. For half a century, Americans controlled Cuba's sugar and nickel operations-the country's two most lucrative exports. Between the United Fruit Company's 300,000-acre plantation and the nearby Nicaro nickel mines, Americans tended their own fiefdom in Cuba's Oriente Province. Everly Lederer and K. C. Stites come of age in this world. Each has a keen eye for the indulgences and betrayals of the grown-ups around them. Meanwhile, in faraway Havana, a cabaret dancer and a French agitator with a shameful past become enmeshed in the brewing political underground. When Fidel and Raúl Castro lead a revolt from the mountains just above the Americans' privileged enclave, torching sugarcane fields and recruiting rebels, K. C. and Everly begin to discover the complexities of class and race and the barely disguised brutality that keeps the colony humming. If their parents seem blissfully untouched by the forces of history, the children hear the whispers of what's to come, as Kushner deftly merges the rural and urban dramas. 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. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Lloyd James's spirited reading captures every aspect of Kushner's story; he can easily tug at listeners' heartstrings and guide them on a remarkable journey. Publishers Weekly Audio Review
  • “Sure and sharp, studded with illuminating images…. A story that will linger like a whiff of decadent Colony perfume.”

    New York Times

  • “Gorgeously written…. An imaginative work that brings Cuban-American history to life.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Lloyd James’s spirited reading captures every aspect of Kushner’s story; he can easily tug at listeners’ heartstrings and guide them on a remarkable journey.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “James…doesn’t miss a beat in the animation of the characters’ voices as he takes on accents and emotions alike with verve.”

    AudioFile

  • “James possesses a jaded tone that is perfect for characters insulated by colonial society.”

    Booklist

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maureen | 2/16/2014

    " Interesting local color but flat characters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carolhdaniels | 2/12/2014

    " Couldn't put the book down...great story and historical insignt. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Nancy | 2/9/2014

    " This was not for me. At 100 pages I was still looking for a plot, and I didn't care about any of the characters (and there were a lot of them). The back half picked up a little, but if I hadn't been reading it for a book club, I wouldn't have made it that far. As a book club book, I do have several questions, and I suspect a thoughtful analysis might make me appreciate it more. But in terms of reading enjoyment, it didn't happen for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amanda | 1/23/2014

    " The story of Americans in Cuba prior to Castro's revolution, it occurs through flashbacks and memories of some of the kids who grew up on the island, but tells in "real time" the story of the adults. I didn't think I would like this book, because it comes across as very-unPC. But the main character apologizes for that -- he knows his attitudes aren't the correct ones, nor were the attitudes of his parents and their "friends." It was an interesting look at a region that continues to vex us to this very day. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dianne | 1/22/2014

    " This book captures the American presence in Cuba as the Castro brothers were gaining power. It follows families working for an American manufacturing company. It's kind of like 'Mad Men' in Cuba. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Margaret | 1/18/2014

    " For a book whose ending was a given, I was disappointed by the weak plot and characterization. Some of the writing was exquisite but uneven enough that I was too often bored. Seemed historically accurate but lacked any punch. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dan Piette | 12/10/2013

    " Americans in Cuba before the revolution. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Corinne | 11/14/2013

    " Not top notch literature, but very interesting in terms of its depiction of pre-Revolution Cuba. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melinda | 11/4/2013

    " Really interesting view of the American influence in preCastro Cuba. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rena | 10/13/2013

    " I really enjoyed this story about Americans in Cuba when Castro took over. Lots of different characters who were all interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 christie | 10/8/2013

    " this book is interesting because it's a fictionalized account of what happened to the Americans in Cuba right before and during the revolution. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chantel | 8/9/2013

    " I loved the dialogue in the book. It is told from several different perspectives, most of them children. I loved the insight into Americans in Cuba during the 1950s. I laughed all through the book and had a little cry in the last few chapters. Good one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laura Reed | 7/28/2013

    " set in cuba right before the revolution-the americans bask in luxury oblvious to the poverty and conditions which the workers chafe against.nostalgia for a time which had to end but was beautiful for a priveleged child-very interesting and the narration alternates in a varied manner.great read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mary Fuller | 6/8/2013

    " I kept waiting to find the plot in this book. It is basically a narrative of life as a wealthy American in pre-revolution Cuba. Not bad, but definitely not the great novel that the NY Times portrayed it to be. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deirdre | 5/16/2013

    " fabulous read. different perspective on cuba. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lewis | 5/2/2013

    " This was just what I needed during a hectic week. Fiction that was well written and interesting. The story of being white and corporate right before el revolution. Good story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pamela | 12/22/2012

    " What it was like to spend your childhood in Cuba in the 50s when your fathers were running the sugar plantations of the United Fruit Company. Then the revolution led by your neighbors--the Castro brothers. Fascinating! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary Norell Hedenstrom | 2/1/2012

    " This book fed my fascination with Cuba. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cindy | 12/30/2011

    " Learned alot about Americans living in Cuba. It was an interesting view of what life was like before Castro. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ksto28 | 10/26/2011

    " i can't even remember how it ended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ruie | 10/23/2011

    " This historical fiction of Cuba before Castro was fascinating and has made me want to read more Cuban history during this time period. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 nitsirkvil | 8/23/2011

    " excellent book. think i would appreciate it even more if i reread it. also would help to look up some of the historical references. a great book club book. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kay Gillis | 7/28/2011

    " I can't pinpoint exactly why I didn't like this book, but it is one of the very few books that I have ever put down without finishing. I'm usually such an optimist that I think the author is going to "pull it out" by the end of the book. I couldn't keep muddling through this one. Sorry. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gregory | 6/4/2011

    " really well-written historical fiction about US ex-pats in the United Fruit enclave of Oriente in mid-to-late, pre-revolutionary Cuba. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dan | 4/27/2011

    " Americans in Cuba before the revolution. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily | 4/19/2011

    " not really holding my attention, but OK "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dennis | 3/27/2011

    " A glorified harlequin romance billed as historical fiction. Somehow this book was up for National Book Award. A yawner of a story, which is hard to achieve given it was set in 1950s Cuba amid two government overthrows. Kushner fixated on sex leaving all of her characters shallow. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jay | 3/5/2011

    " Ever read a book that was half good & half bad? That was this book for me. I was just glad to be done with this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ruie | 2/6/2011

    " This historical fiction of Cuba before Castro was fascinating and has made me want to read more Cuban history during this time period. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maria | 1/10/2011

    " Interesting read on the American experience in pre-revolutionary Cuba. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan | 1/5/2011

    " A fun read with an interesting historical perspective on Americans living in Cuba just prior to the Cuban revolution. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gerrie | 12/2/2010

    " This book went far in satisfying my desire to learn more about life in Cuba during this period. While the storyline itself may not have been riveting, the historical account and descriptiveness of the environment were wonderful. I feel it added significantly--and credibly-- to my understanding. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Emily | 11/18/2010

    " Not a bad premise/story but it is disjointed and tedious. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joey | 11/15/2010

    " I really enjoyed this book about Cuba on the brink of revolution. Just good writing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 nitsirkvil | 11/8/2010

    " excellent book. think i would appreciate it even more if i reread it. also would help to look up some of the historical references. a great book club book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maureen | 10/20/2010

    " Interesting local color but flat characters. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lou | 9/28/2010

    " I thought I would get some insight into what the expat population in Cube went through during the revolution. Wrong! Nothing but petty, fatuous infighting among very boring people. "

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About the Author
Author Rachel KushnerRachel Kushner’s debut novel, Telex from Cuba, was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, winner of a California Book Award, and a New York Times bestseller and Notable Book. It was named a best book of 2008 by The Washington Post Book World, San Francisco Chronicle, The Seattle Times, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, and The Christian Science Monitor. She lives in Los Angeles.
About the Narrator

Lloyd James (a.k.a. Sean Pratt) has been narrating since 1996 and has recorded over six hundred audiobooks. He is a seven-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award and has twice been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award. His critically acclaimed performances include Elvis in the Morning by William F. Buckley Jr. and Searching for Bobby Fischer by Fred Waitzkin, among others.