The Cuban Hustle

Posted on Aug 31, 2020 in Books
The Cuban Hustle

Book description:

In The Cuban Hustle, Sujatha Fernandes explores the multitudinous ways artists, activists, and ordinary Cubans have hustled to survive and express themselves in the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s collapse. Whether circulating information on flash drives as a substitute for the internet or building homemade antennas to listen to Miami’s hip hop radio stations, Cubans improvise alternative strategies and workarounds to contend with ongoing isolation. Throughout these essays, Fernandes examines the emergence of dynamic youth cultures and social movements as Cuba grappled with economic collapse, new digital technologies, the normalization of diplomatic ties with the United States during the Obama administration, and the regression of US-Cuban relations in the Trump era. From reflections on feminism, new Cuban cinema, and public art to urban barrios, the Afro-Cuban movement, and rumba and hip hop, Fernandes reveals Cuba to be a world of vibrant cultures grounded in an ethos of invention and everyday hustle.


Read the Introduction

Read an excerpt, “Poetry Out of Everyday Life”

Interview with Alejandra Bronfman about The Cuban Hustle on New Books Network

Interview about The Cuban Hustle on ROROTOKO



“A fascinating dossier about the challenges and preoccupations of post-Soviet Cuba. From negotiating the fallout from a globalizing economy to new movements in the visual arts, music, film, feminism, and racial consciousness, Sujatha Fernandes brings readers up to date on the inventive, evolving hustle that is Cuba’s survival.”
Cristina García, National Book Award nominee, author of Dreaming in Cuban and Here in Berlin

“In a complex and nuanced way, Sujatha Fernandes describes Cuba’s most recent two decades, focusing on subjects that have not been written about in this much detail. She contributes to a new understanding of present-day Cuba—and its many fascinating idiosyncrasies, tensions, and creative solutions to complicated problems—in an engaging and politically sophisticated style that general readers will enjoy.”
Margaret Randall, author of I Never Left Home: Poet, Feminist, Revolutionary



“For any reader who is curious about the embodiment of Cuban life over the past two decades, Fernandes skilfully provides lucid accounts of ordinary Cubans, who, through pure resourcefulness and innovation, and in times of chaos, work relentlessly to find strategies for survival, in ways that are meaningful and artistically expressive.” – Mauricia John, Ethnic and Racial Studies

“The beauty of Fernandes’s writing is that she’s able to convey so much in a small amount of space, giving you context and positioning her research in such a way that you really feel like you’re getting a deep dive in the history, culture, and sound of Cuban hip hop over just the course of a few essays, and will have you looking up artists to start building your foundational knowledge.” – Chi Chi Thalkin, Scratched Vinyl


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