The five best books to read before travelling to Cuba

The five best books to read before travelling to Cuba

Our Cuban colleagues share their selection of books to read before travelling to Cuba



The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway

Because the novel is set in Cuba. And like the old fisherman you can head out into the turquoise world of the Caribbean. And, if you feel like it, go fishing for a beautiful swordfish. But also because, in Havana, you will find the ghost of Hemingway everywhere: you can see his room at the Ambos Mundos hotel, go to the same bistros as him, enjoy the same cocktails: a mojito at the Bodeguita del Medio and a daiquiri at the Floridita. Discover our Cuban specialists' literature selection.



Three Trapped Tigers

The magnificent language of Guillermo Cabrera Infante transports the reader with a Cuban musicality to meet these characters, neither trapped nor three in number, nor even tigers, for that matter. Bustrofedon, the central character with the name of a forgotten Greek writer, Codac the photographer, Silvestre the author and Eribo the musician. As a backdrop there is the colourful atmosphere of pre-revolutionary Cuba.



The King of Havana

He's an odd kind of king, a monarch decaying like his city. In this novel, Pedro Juan Gutierrez discusses the recurring themes in his work, which tell of the bitter love he bears for his island: the decaying yet indestructible beauty of Havana, and the sex, sensuality, freedom, and misery of his people. And its ability to live in the moment as you may find when you holiday in Cuba: 'He was happy just looking at his surroundings. Mainly the women. Without a care, quiet. There was nothing to be bothered about'.



Biography with Two Voices

The book is the result of a series of interviews with Fidel Castro by Ignacio Ramonet. The 'true leader' is endlessly fascinating. The island has been so shaped by his actions that you can't avoid hearing his story. From his childhood to the missile crisis, to his relations with Che, a string of US Presidents and dive legend Jacques Cousteau, all of this allows us to better understand both Cuba and the Cold War.