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Holy Smoke

Holy Smoke

by Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Guillermo Cabrera Infante
In what is sure to be the funniest, most original tribute to the cigar ever, Cabrera Infante lovingly unleashes a veritable arsenal of delicious detail about cigars and those who smoke them.


In what is sure to be the funniest, most original tribute to the cigar ever, Cabrera Infante lovingly unleashes a veritable arsenal of delicious detail about cigars and those who smoke them.

Editorial Reviews

Miami Herald
This is a dazzling....tour de force: equal parts history book, cigar guide and personal paeon to the culture and pleasures of smoking...you don't need to enjoy cigars to savor it. You only need to enjoy reading.
Library Journal
With just about every actor and actress in Hollywood discovering cigars and the emergence of such places as cigar bars, a book about the wonderful world of cigars is to be expected. Fortunately, Cuban novelist Cabrera Infante (Mea Cuba, LJ 11/1/94) has written that book. It is a rollicking look at the history, production, use, and glories of the cigar, with a consideration of its role in society and Hollywood. Cabrera Infante uses a lot of word play and humor to sing the praises of his subject. There will likely be only a limited audience for this book, given the subject, so it may be considered on optional purchase, but the writing is first-rate.Robert A. Curtis, Taylor Memorial P.L., Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Kirkus Reviews
An engaging classic about a "burning passion"—cigar smoking—is available here more than a decade after its original UK issue. It is passionate, indeed.

This rich and juicy book by Cabrera Infante (Infante's Inferno, 1984; Mea Cuba, 1994; etc.) makes the current crop of coffee table books on the subject seem like mere ephemera. The author was born in Cuba, where Columbus first witnessed the ur- cigar being enjoyed by the locals. The brave admiral (in a fit of early political correctness) didn't partake, but a colleague did, and the stink of the stogey soon spread 'round the world. Cabrera Infante is quick on the draw, tracing the history of the habit in a playful, relaxed narrative. He discursively discourses on the growing of the leaf and the manufacture and various forms of what was first described as a "horizontal chimney." Fillers, binders, and wrappers, shapes and shops, mores and manners, true Havanas, cigarettes, pipes, snuff, and ash are all covered in the pun- encrusted, addictive text. Smoked out, too, is every movie reference to the tobacco habit, with fulsome, funny references to performers from W.C. Fields to Wallace Ford, Groucho Marx (of course) to Percy Kilbride. The movie allusions give way to literary allusions with a miscellany that includes Hammett's Continental Op, the great Myles na gCopaleen, Baron Corvo, Sherlock Holmes (of course) and (of course) Kipling. Written in the days when Castro still smoked and Orson Welles still walked among us, this text refers to a Davidoff as "the most expensive cigar in the world . . . around ten dollars each." Alas, even that awful price has been far surpassed in recent years.

But no matter. Cabrera Infante's pyrotechnics have not yet been equaled. Take a leaf from this book and have some robusto fun.

Product Details

Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.02(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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What People are Saying About This

Susan Sontag
It now seems utterly extraordinary that anyone can write brilliant prose in more than one language; we marvel at a Nabokov, a Beckett, a Cabrera Infante.

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