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Isadora Tattlin is the American wife of a European energy consultant posted to Havana in the 1990s. Wisely, the witty Mrs. Tattlin began a diary the day her husband informed her of their new assignment. One of the first entries is her shopping list of things to take, including six gallons of shampoo. For although the Tattlins were provided with a wonderful, big house in Havana, complete with a staff of seven, there wasn't much else money could buy in a country whose shelves are nearly bare. The record of her daily life in Cuba raising her two small children, entertaining her husband's clients (among them Fidel Castro and his ministers and minions), and contending with chronic shortages of, well . . . everything (on the street, tourists are hounded not for money but for soap), is literally stunning. Adventurous and intuitive, Tattlin squeezed every drop of juice--both tasty and repellent--from her experience. She traveled wherever she could (it's not easy--there are few road signs or appealing places to stay or eat). She befriended artists, attended concerts and plays. She gave dozens of parties, attended dozens more. Cuba Diaries--vividly explicit, empathetic, often hilarious--takes the reader deep inside this island country only ninety miles from the U.S., where the average doctor's salary is eleven dollars a month. The reader comes away appalled by the deprivation and drawn by the romance of a weirdly nostalgic Cuba frozen in the 1950s.

Book Reviews

Cuba Diaries: An American Housewife in Havana
Average rating
4 / 5
Cuba Diaries,, an American housewife in Cuba
June 23rd, 2015
A most interesting personal perspective of Cuba, Cuban life and the natives of Cuba. A non political view of Cuban life, people and culture. Well written, personal and very descriptive. The writer reveals herself through her account of her time in Cuba with a sense of humor and compassion for the people she encounters.
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1 review
Cuban Diaries
March 17th, 2014
Found very interesting as I have been to Cuba a few times. First time was in 1978 on vacation. Really enjoy the people of Cuba, but feel sorry for them because they have so little. This book really told you about the real Cuba and what goes on. But I am sure many things have changed since this book was written.
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1 review
February 2nd, 2014
An very interesting read, facts not generally known to people outside of Cuba are revealed.
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1 review
The "Real" Cuba?
January 20th, 2013
I enjoyed this book because I felt it gave me some insight into what Cuba is really like. I have seen it from the 'tourist' perspective, but reading about this family actually living there was eye opening. As a tourist, you have nice hotels with AC & hot and cold water, lots of food (if a bit boring), so to read about how trying life was as a privileged foreigner, it is possible to understand how life must be for actual Cubans. Not a great book, and not especially well written, but an interesting read that I recommend.
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1 review

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