Rossland author Rosa Jordan will be reading from her latest book this weekend. She will read from her new book, Cuba Unspun, at Café West Books in Rossland on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m.
The book delves into the subjects of tourism, racism, homophobia, hurricanes, and hitchhiking in Cuba, all the while entertaining readers with unconventional perspectives, gleaned from travels around the island that she began fifteen years ago and continues to the present.
Jordan offers original analyses of the economy’s successes and failures based on close encounters with ordinary Cubans, including well-educated professionals, better-paid small farmers, under-aged prostitutes, and families operating unlicensed (and therefore illegal) B&Bs.
Jordan is the quintessential curious traveller, initially confused by a culture about which she had many misconceptions. Her experiences eventually bring some clarity, if not certainty, about “the way things are” in Cuba. She cheerfully undertakes to “unspin” myths about the island that have been repeated so often and for so long that many are taken for fact.
She does not limit her “unspinning” to the hows and whys of ordinary life in Cuba that she becomes privy to while meandering through the island’s hinterland by train, truck, bike, and, most often, a rental car packed with hitchhiking Cubans.
In a section called “Revolutionary Love,” Jordan concludes her narrative with controversial perspectives on some of Cuba’s most iconic leaders and their now-adult children.
Almost alone among those who have studied the Cuban Revolution, she argues that Fidel Castro “was never a one-man show.” Based on evidence as diverse as testimonies from a Cuban general and declassified CIA documents, she makes a case for “the woman behind the man,” without whom Fidel might never have got out of prison, let alone succeeded in a guerrilla war.
Nor is that woman—Celia Sánchez—the only powerful female Jordan weaves into her narrative.
Her bios of others are brief, but will leave even those who consider themselves well informed about Cuban history wondering how they (or rather, journalists and historians) missed all that!
Rosa Jordan grew up in Florida’s Everglades, earned degrees from universities in California and Mexico, and immigrated to Canada in 1980. Her earliest writings were articles drawn from travels in Latin America. Those experiences later became the basis of a non-fiction book, Dangerous Places: Travels on the Edge.
Travel continues to inform Rosa’s life and work. In the past decade she has authored two novels: Far From Botany Bay, set in the South Pacific, and The Woman She Was, set in contemporary Cuba. She has also written two other nonfiction books about Cuba.
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