Trapped in Paradise
Richard M. Grove
Author: Richard M. Grove
Title: Trapped In Paradise: Views of My Cuba
ISBN: 978-1-897475-57-7 = 9781897475577
Trade Paperback: 150 pages – 6 X 9
Suggested Retail (Paperback): $15.95
Genre: Memoir, Poetry and Photography, Canadian
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See Cuba through the eyes of a middle-aged Canadian man on a bike in the mountains travelling from city to city. This is a fun memoir that will introduce the reader to a Cuba that most tourists will never see. Coffee in the ditch, pushing to the top of a mountain, coasting down to the sea, sleeping in a brothel because there is no other room in town, travelling shoulder to shoulder with Cubans in a gravel truck with the lighthearted wit of a wide eyed explorer. Don’t even think about seeing Cuba this way until you read Trapped in Paradise first.
Trapped In Paradise, is a memoir in poetry, prose and photography. It is more than just a travel log of a bike trip from Holguín to Santiago de Cuba with a Canadian and Cuban friend. It includes subjective observations about Cuba while looking at some social problems and its kind hearted people. Broken into short chapters Trapped In Paradise is often humorous in its portrayal of events, from having espresso in the ditch, to sleeping in a brothel. Along with being an enlightening stimulating read that will teach you something about the unique nature of this island country it is a fun and easy book for anyone interested in travelling in general or Cuba specifically.
Trapped in Paradise is a fun though important view of Cuba as seen through the eyes of a middle-aged Canadian man on a bike in the mountains with the loving support and guidance from two life-long friends. Through this memoir you will discover the most down-to-earth, generous people you could ever hope to meet. Manuel, a Cuban soul brother; his wife Adonay, beloved sister, and Pablo their darling son, God-son of the author, have taught the valuable lesson of what true brotherly, sisterly love is all about. Travel with the author, Manuel and their Canadian friend Eric. Lear about Cuba and her people in a way that you will never know unless you are trapped in paradise, on a bike, running out of water in 35oc heat wondering where you are going to spend the night. This is a truly fun read that will not make you grab your bike and head for Cuba. Every inch, every mile, every situation is unbelievably true.
I just finished trapped in paradise. What a fun ride. Lots of good stuff I’m still chewing on. A delicious gem of a book. I laughed but I didn’t cry. Although your vivid description of Cuban poverty and potholes reminded me of how the Japanese tsunami made me feel. Gut wrenching.
You can’t tell a book by its cover, an old saying goes. Such is the case here with a gorgeous pink sky and emerald palm trees that make the reader think they are entering paradise. The reader may look at the word “Trapped” and think of fear, “Paradise” might evoke joy or freedom. This book will surprise the reader on many levels. Trapped In Paradise is a wonderful book of surprises.
This beautiful piece of literary memoir, reads like a novel, is based on different trips the author took in Cuba, biking from city to city, up mountains, down into cool valleys. Grove compiled notes, photos, memoirs and anecdotes, then wove them into stories to show locals and foreigners different views of the current Cuba.
About Grove’s adventures one might draw comparisons with Christopher Columbus, Ernesto Che Guevara, or even Hemingway, but I know Richard and his two friends better than that. I would call them “The Three Musketeers. Using pens as swords, fighting time, thirst, black-outs, and the hot sun as their enemies; every mile was a won battle and every town a conquered city.
Thanks to the wonders of email, Manuel in Cuba, and Tai in Canada, everything was planned in great detail but nothing worked out. Travelling by bike from Holguin to Santiago would be a challenge for any middle-aged, novice biker, but for these three it was a miracle. Their travels, as you will read, will take them places no regular tourist would ever visit. They will meet new friends and have adventures only a Cuban national would make.
The reader will learn, laugh, think and meditate every mile with them. You will enjoy story after story mixed with a few poems about Cuba on the travels with this “un-put-down-able memoir”. There is a phrase used by the author in the middle of the book, “don’t bite off more than you can chew”. With this book I only had to bite once and I was trapped into the paradise of travelling with Tai – or you know him as Richard M. Grove. I enjoyed every page, every mile.
Cuban author, entertainer