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Latin America, Reviews, Travel books

Book Review: The Island that dared

Eland Publishing, Dervla Murphy: In this volume the veteran travel writer Dervla Murphy sets out to get to grips with Cuba. She is accompanied by her daughter and three granddaughters before going on to travel alone around the Caribbean island. She shares with us experience of doing Cuba the hard way; no luxury resort hotels but lots of queues and bone-shaking trains. She certainly has a knack of eliciting confidences from locals which is all to the benefit of the reader, giving us as good an insight into the real life of Cubans as anyone is likely to get. Simultaneously the author freely shares with us her analysis of the success of the Cuban revolution and the future of the country. At times the two threads don’t always sit so comfortably together; the travel memoir occasionally somewhat brushed aside by the political scrutiny. Nonetheless, the author is clearly passionate about her subject and on the whole we are rewarded with skillful insight and an informative read – replete of course with Murphy’s usual eloquence and wit. She has your attention from the very first page. Polly Fryer

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