Cuba’s Wild East: A Literary Geography of Oriente recounts a literary history of modern Cuba that has four distinctive and interrelated characteristics. Oriented to the east of the island, it looks aslant at a Cuban national literature that has sometimes been indistinguishable from a history of Havana. Given the insurgent and revolutionary history of that eastern region, it recounts stories of rebellion, heroism, and sacrifice. Intimately related to places and sites which now belong to a national pantheon, its corpus—while including fiction and poetry—is frequently written as memoir and testimony. As a region of encounter, that corpus is itself resolutely mixed, featuring a significant proportion of writings by US journalists and novelists as well as by Cuban writers.
This is the work of a mature scholar who has reflected on the subject for a long time; one who has read extensively on the matter, and one who enjoys his subject thoroughly. The merits of the book are many but the most important for me are two: one is taking all the cardinal points, north and south, east and west and putting them in contact with each other. The second is the relationships he establishes between indigenous pasts and colonial and postcolonial writings. Prof. Hulme makes the points of convergences between these stories and history magic.
Throughout all eight essays Hulme’s prose skillfully integrates close textual analysis with detailed historical and geographical contexts, making the book very accessible to readers (like this reviewer) who are allergic to pure disquisitions on texts. Reading Cuba’s Wild East feels like taking an actual trip through the region. The book constitutes a truly exceptional, readable, informative, and significant contribution to the study of Cuban history, culture, and politics.
Raul Fernandez, New West Indian Guide
This innovative and rewarding work [...] achieves the long overdue feat of putting the region of Oriente firmly on the cultural and historical geographical map.
Journal of Historical Geography, 41
Cuba's Wild East offers an engaging and well researched insight into literary eastern Cuba. Its efforts to cover a wide range of sources are remarkable and it adds to a fine body of scholarly research.
Bulletin of Latin American Research Vol. 33, No. 2
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