Changó's Beads and Two-tone Shoes

Changó's Beads and Two-tone Shoes

eBook - 2011
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His life radically changed by an encounter with Ernest Hemingway in Cuba, journalist Daniel Quinn embarks on a turbulent journey marked by such historical events as the Albany race riots, the rise of Fidel Castro, and the assassination of Robert Kennedy.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2011.
ISBN: 9781101541593
1101541598
9781101544471
1101544473
9781101544860
1101544864
9781101541982
1101541989
Branch Call Number: ONLINE
Characteristics: 1 online resource (328 pages)

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AnneDromeda Feb 16, 2012

Between *The Paris Wife*, other books about Hemingway's matrimonial adventures, and Woody Allen's film *Midnight in Paris*, there's recently been a minor outburst of cultural fascination with Hemingway-the-man. For readers who haven't yet slaked their thirst, I have another work for you to consider: William Kennedy's *Chango's Beads and Two-Tone Shoes*. <br />

The novel's broken into three sections. A brief introductory scene focuses on Albany, New York in 1936, and features Bing Crosby along with several of the book's main cast. The brief scene manages to be simultaneously charming and disturbing; Kennedy captures the era's complicated racial politics and their effects on personal interactions with a quick song and some snappy dialogue. <br />

From there, the book quickly moves to Cuba in 1957. The young boy awoken by Bing Crosby's voice in the first section has become Daniel Quinn, a new journalist who lands smack in the middle of the Cuban revolution. After meeting Hemingway and beautiful, revolutionary Renata in a bar, Quinn's drawn deeply into a bewitching world of Santeria, gun running, Cuban jazz, and danger – he even interviews Castro.<br />

This heady atmosphere breaks briefly at a crisis point, when Kennedy abruptly shifts the action back to Albany in 1968. Quinn's returned after some unnamed tragedy in Cuba. Racial tensions are coming to a head in the city in the wake of Robert Kennedy's assassination. As tensions erupt in one night of violence, Quinn is once again drawn into the heat of the action.<br />

Themes of Santeria, jazz and revolution pull the reader through the novel at a relentless pace. Beyond the three sections mentioned above, Kennedy doesn't break the action into any chapters to give readers time to pause and digest. By the end of the novel it's clear - whatever Hemingway might have had to say about concise, uncomplicated writing, that sort of narrative no longer captures a world as complex as ours. *Chango's Beads and Two-Tone Shoes* is recommended to those who love the idea of Hemingway more than his writing, as well as anyone with a passion for music history, revolution and atmospheric novels.

patienceandfortitude Oct 20, 2011

Kennedy does a beautiful job of understanding and appreciating those that are considered down and out. This book takes place during the Cuban revolution and also during the late 60's civil rights movement in Albany -- the contrast and the similarities are fascinating. Kennedy recognizes the grace of the poor and speaks truth to power. God bless him.

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AnneDromeda Feb 16, 2012

Between *The Paris Wife*, other books about Hemingway's matrimonial adventures, and Woody Allen's film *Midnight in Paris*, there's recently been a minor outburst of cultural fascination with Hemingway-the-man. For readers who haven't yet slaked their thirst, I have another work for you to consider: William Kennedy's *Chango's Beads and Two-Tone Shoes*. <br />

The novel's broken into three sections. A brief introductory scene focuses on Albany, New York in 1936, and features Bing Crosby along with several of the book's main cast. The brief scene manages to be simultaneously charming and disturbing; Kennedy captures the era's complicated racial politics and their effects on personal interactions with a quick song and some snappy dialogue. <br />

From there, the book quickly moves to Cuba in 1957. The young boy awoken by Bing Crosby's voice in the first section has become Daniel Quinn, a new journalist who lands smack in the middle of the Cuban revolution. After meeting Hemingway and beautiful, revolutionary Renata in a bar, Quinn's drawn deeply into a bewitching world of Santeria, gun running, Cuban jazz, and danger – he even interviews Castro.<br />

This heady atmosphere breaks briefly at a crisis point, when Kennedy abruptly shifts the action back to Albany in 1968. Quinn's returned after some unnamed tragedy in Cuba. Racial tensions are coming to a head in the city in the wake of Robert Kennedy's assassination. As tensions erupt in one night of violence, Quinn is once again drawn into the heat of the action.<br />

Themes of Santeria, jazz and revolution pull the reader through the novel at a relentless pace. Beyond the three sections mentioned above, Kennedy doesn't break the action into any chapters to give readers time to pause and digest. By the end of the novel it's clear - whatever Hemingway might have had to say about concise, uncomplicated writing, that sort of narrative no longer captures a world as complex as ours. *Chango's Beads and Two-Tone Shoes* is recommended to those who love the idea of Hemingway more than his writing, as well as anyone with a passion for music history, revolution and atmospheric novels.

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