Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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p. v

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1. Selling Like Hot Bread: New Money, New Markets

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pp. 1-34

We’re what’s happening,” declares Manolín the Salsa Doctor, in the chorus to a song that hit Havana’s airwaves and streets in 1996. He continues, showing off : “We’re what sells like hot bread . . . we’re the greatest.” 1 Even from the mouth of Manolín, the refrain is ambivalent: it is a challenge to rivals in the music charts that nevertheless lends itself to displays of national pride.2But when this same refrain becomes the epigraph to Pedro Juan...

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2. Dollar Trouble: The Roots of Special Period Fiction

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pp. 35-66

“I gave you my whole life,” cries the cover of Zoé Valdés’s 1996 novel, and we can almost hear the love - torn tones of the Cuban boleros for which each of its chapters is named. There is something missing, though: the lament lacks a subject, a singer to give it voice and to give “all I had,” as Nadia Benabid’s English translation puts it. This line about giving gives away little, but...

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3. Covering for Banknotes: Books, Money, and the Cuban Short Story

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pp. 67-96

“Money,” the title of a short story by Ronaldo Menéndez, could hardly be more explicit about the cause of the social turmoil amid which it was written. Published in 1997, after the collection in which it is included won that year’s Casa de las Américas prize for short fiction, Menéndez’s story is set in late July 1994. Cuba was by then a year into its dual monetary system, with...

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4. Markets in the Margins: The Allure of Centro Habana

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pp. 97-126

The cover of Brudna trylogia o Hawanie runs little risk of being misunderstood. Published in Warsaw in 2004, it speaks an international vernacular of erotica: a close - up photograph of a naked female body, dark - skinned and glistening in the studio light, manicured fingers poised suggestively over the crotch. And yet the relationship of the photograph to the Havana of...

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5. The Ruined City: Artists and Spectators of Decay

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pp. 127-154

Before swooping into the solar where he will murder a young woman in the gory finale to Miguel Mejides’s Perversiones en el Prado (Perversions on Prado Street), the Rocamora character — a solitary misfit metamorphosed into a bird of doom — surveys the city before him. From his perch on the fortress of El Morro, where he remembers dead soldiers of centuries past, he...

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Afterword

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pp. 155-156

As I revised the early chapters of this manuscript, the U.S. dollar was withdrawn from circulation in Cuba. Some months later, Fidel Castro suggested that the special period had ended. And in case these reminders of the precariousness of my project were not enough, as I completed it in the summer of 2006 an unwell Castro transferred the leadership of Cuba to his brother Raúl and raised...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 157-158

As I revised the early chapters of this manuscript, the U.S. dollar was withdrawn from circulation in Cuba. Some months later, Fidel Castro suggested that the special period had ended. And in case these reminders of the precariousness of my project were not enough, as I completed it in the summer of 2006 an unwell Castro transferred the leadership of Cuba to his brother Raúl and raised...

Notes

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pp. 159-190

Works Cited

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pp. 191-210

Index

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pp. 211-220