The Havana Papers

The Havana Papers

by Michael Daly


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With a 1958 portable typewriter in his suitcase, the writer wanders Havana’s crumbling back alleys, bullet-sprayed museums, and grand hotels where the relics of the Revolution and the ghost of Hemingway still speak loudly.

?Whether getting grifted while watching a dubiously-billed piano player from the Buena Vista Social Club, dodging grifters and conmen, or wandering amongst over a million marble graves, The Havana Papers offers a rare glimpse into old Havana—a UNESCO World Heritage site—in the 21st Century.

When his typewriter breaks in transit, the writer is forced to reconsider his writing holiday and put his novel on hold, until a new story emerges from the vibrance and history in the Old City—Habana Vieja.

Travel beyond the postcard pictures and vibrant colours of the tourist facade, and into a world forgotten by time's advance, frozen in a fifties' imagination, and aching under the strain of modernity. Recipient of a 2016 Eric Hoffer Award for non-fiction, The Havana Papers reveals a complex, contemporary portrait of one of the world's great historic cities.

The print edition includes 16 photographs by the author throughout his travels that are new to this printing and not included in the eBook version.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781483594934
Publisher: BookBaby
Publication date: 03/31/2017
Pages: 112
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

Michael received the 2016 First Horizon Award for an outstanding debut novel, and The Havana Papers received an Eric Hoffer Award for non-fiction. First published as a poet, Michael’s work has appeared in independent publications in Ontario, the United Kingdom, and New York. Michael writes and produces the comedy podcast series Rodney Spitz, P.I. and lives in Kitchener, Ontario.

Table of Contents

The Beginning Of The End 1

Arrival 5

An Education 13

Vieja 19

Bullets In The Marble 25

The Belltower 33

Cristóbal Colón 41

Amenities 49

Begging For Milk Outside The Grand Theater 53

Ambos Mundos 61

A Final Grift 69

Celebration 77

Departure 81

The Preacher On The Way Home 85

Epilogue 93

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The Havana Papers 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Charles_Ray More than 1 year ago
An entertaining look at Havana . . . I received a free copy of The Havana Papers by Michael Daly in exchange for an objective review. In The Havana Papers the writer, a Canadian, travels to Havana with an old portable typewriter and plans to write a novel. When his typewriter is broken during his interrogation by Cuban immigration officials, he’s forced to put his novel on hold. Instead, he explores Habana vieja, the Old City, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In his explorations, he experiences the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the Havana you won’t find on picture postcards, and in the process introduces the reader to a city straining to fit in the 21st century, but still stuck in the 1950s. The book drags a bit in places, but is filled with humor and colorful descriptions of the denizens of a city that, given the recent move by the American administration to renew diplomatic relations, we might be able to actually go and check out for ourselves.
ReadersFavorite1 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite The Havana Papers is a non fiction travel book written by Michael Daly. The author, a Canadian, spent a week touring Havana. He travels relatively lightly with the exception of a typewriter from the 1950s which is damaged along the way and resists the author's efforts to fix it. The bus from the airport drops off a middle-aged couple at a beach resort that seems to have seen better times, and the author wonders if they'll survive the experience. His Cuba is quite different from that beach resort as he travels the inner city, accompanied by the ever-present tour guides who expect drinks and food as well as the ever-escalating tip. Daly shows us a number of historical sites, including the house where Hemingway wrote, where he ponders briefly taking the typewriter that still sits in Hemingway's shrine-like room to replace his own broken one. Daly's travelogue, The Havana Papers, is filled with haunting and melancholic images that flit across the reader's vision as the author takes his last puff on a cigarette back home and proceeds on his tropical journey. The author's Havana is filled with grifters, shells of condominiums and vacant hotels, rutted alleys and rust. His choice of writing tool, a revolution-era typewriter, seems a metaphor for this work that speaks only of failure and need while acknowledging briefly the brutality of the regime that was toppled all those years ago. Daly's interactions with Cubans seem likewise limited to grifters who mostly turn out to be parents trying to get just a few pesos more for food for their children, and his nights seem filled with rum and ice and solitude. As he travels back to the airport and the driver picks up the glowing couple from their beach resort holiday, Daly wonders about the week he would have had staying there, and I found myself wondering the very same thing. I'd like to see the story he tells then. The Havana Papers is recommended reading.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Faridah Nassozi for Readers' Favorite The Havana Papers by Michael Daly is the author's narration of the exploration he did during his one-week stay in the city of Havana, discovering different parts of the city brought to its knees by the revolution. Michael Daly had traveled to Havana to write, but when he realized he could not do that at the moment, he decided to do with his eyes and camera what he could not do with his broken typewriter. Each day, he went to a different part of the city, walked the empty alleys and streets filled with destruction and desperation, while taking in the ruin that was post revolution Cuba. In this book, he narrates with great detail his experience while he walked the streets of a dead city filled with abandoned, bullet-riddled buildings and desperate inhabitants.  After reading The Havana Papers, I felt I had a vivid imagine of post revolution Cuba. Through Michael Daly's descriptive writing, I could clearly picture the destruction left behind by the revolution and feel the general gloomy cloud that hung over a country once filled with so much promise. Michael Daly gave a true description of what was left of Havana after the revolution and through the pages of this book you will walk the empty streets of Havana and see the city through his eyes. Each chapter takes you to a new part of the city and through these chapters, you discover more and more about the city that once was. He really did an incredible job of bringing his experiences to life and this book would be a great read for anyone looking to discover how the city of Havana looked after the revolution.