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Book Title: Six Days in Havana|
Date of issue: January 1st 1989
ISBN 13: 9780292776296
The author of the book: James A. Michener
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 341 KB
Edition: University of Texas Press
Read full description of the books Six Days in Havana:This book differs from most of Michener’s in that much of the story is told in photographs by John Kings, Michener’s research assistant for Caribbean and other novels. In fact, this book chronicles a trip that Michener and Kings made to Cuba in 1988 to get a sense of place and context in which Michener would put Caribbean’s Cuban characters. Visas to Cuba were not commonly available in those days, and US propaganda about the Cuban regime convinced Kings to forego his Nikon, flash attachment, and extra lenses, to be less conspicuous and avoid the possibility of interrogation during this short trip. Kings packed a sharp-lensed German rangefinder (Balda CA 35) with a “shutter click soft as a whisper.” He took only three rolls of film, expecting to see armed guards and have few opportunities for photography. Luckily no such restrictions existed, and his Cuban associates were able to provide a source for plenty of Kodak and Fuji film at prices comparable to those in the US. The result is a volume full of images with charming pre-SLR and pre-Photoshop coloration.
Michener and Kings each authored chapters of the book, telling their own stories about shared explorations and discoveries in Havana and surrounds. There’s a bit of backstory in the beginning, illustrated with sepia-toned historical (Cuban) photos from University of Miami’s archives. Then the story becomes that of the journey. Much of this is simply rambling about in Havana and surrounds with no particular plan, and happening upon a variety of people, architecture, and cultural treasures. Included are brief stories of interactions with a small museum archivist, Catholic nuns operating a home for the elderly (though Communism decreed religion officially illegal), an acting American ambassador (also officially nonexistent), and even the Cuban press. There are never too many words, and photographs add some detail, yet much is left up to our own imaginations.
Much of the photography is of architecture built during the colonial boom era. Some buildings are beautifully preserved, others in various states of disrepair and habitation. There are photos of a rich variety of Cuban children and adults involved in everyday activities. A few shots are of Michener exploring the architecture and chatting with the people (he spoke Spanish fluently). Indeed, this book is a poetic snapshot of Cuba in the late 1980s, as seen by two of the rare Americans who were able to travel there and appreciate it.
Read information about the authorJames Albert Michener is best known for his sweeping multi-generation historical fiction sagas, usually focusing on and titled after a particular geographical region. His first novel, Tales of the South Pacific , which inspired the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific, won the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Toward the end of his life, he created the Journey Prize, awarded annually for the year's best short story published by an emerging Canadian writer; founded an MFA program now, named the Michener Center for Writers, at the University of Texas at Austin; and made substantial contributions to the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, best known for its permanent collection of Pennsylvania Impressionist paintings and a room containing Michener's own typewriter, books, and various memorabilia.
Michener's entry in Who's Who in America says he was born on Feb. 3, 1907. But he said in his 1992 memoirs that the circumstances of his birth remained cloudy and he did not know just when he was born or who his parents were.
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