The Tribe: Portraits of Cuba

Highbridge Audio. Feb. 2023. tr. from Spanish by Frank Wynne with Rahul Bery. 9:53 hrs. ISBN 9781696609654. $24.99. LIT
In this essay collection, journalist and novelist Álvarez (The Fallen) offers a glimpse into the day-to-day lives of modern Cubans in the period after Cuban-U.S. diplomatic relations were restored. Cuban American narrator Gary Tiedemann smoothly delivers these portraits, seamlessly switching from English to Spanish. Tiedemann’s gentle narrative style makes this a comforting listen and allows the power of Álvarez’s words to take center stage. Mixing narrative nonfiction, reportage, and personal stories, Álvarez’s 19 essays illuminate the experiences of a wide range of Cuban people, from celebrities such as New York Yankees pitcher José Contreras to garbage pickers scouring landfills for usable items. Also included are vignettes about dissident poet Rafael Alcides, shopkeepers, students, farmers, and nurses. Álvarez brings forth the stories of Cubans who witnessed the early revolution and fiercely defend its tenets, as well as those who became confused by the seemingly sudden restoration of diplomatic relations with a country they had always known as an enemy.
VERDICT Although some of the promises of the revolution did not materialize, these stories of human resilience and ingenuity provide hope for the future. Share with listeners seeking authentic stories of Cuban life; a great fit for fans of Anthony DePalma’s The Cubans or Leila Guerriero’s Cuba on the Verge.
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