Orwell in Cuba chronicles journalist Frédérick Lavoie’s attempts to unravel the motives behind the mysterious appearance of a new translation of George Orwell’s 1984, formerly taboo in Cuba, just ahead of the country’s twenty-fifth International Book Fair. Lavoie works to make sense of how Cubans feel about the past, present, and future of their island – and how the political regime is adapting, or not, to life in the twenty-first century. His intertwined quests give readers the unique experience of following a suspenseful trail while at the same time becoming increasingly familiar with Cubans’ relationship to the regime and their strategies for coping with the island’s often challenging living conditions.
Frederick Lavoie is a freelance foreign correspondent born in 1983 in Chicoutimi, Canada. He has been working for numerous media in Canada, France, Belgium and Switzerland. He was previously based in Moscow (2008-2012), Mumbai (2012-2014) and Chicago (2014-2016). He is also the author of Allers simples: aventures journalistiques en Post-Soviétie (2012), recounting his years of reporting and travels in Russia and other former republics of the Soviet Union, and Avant l’après: voyages à Cuba avec George Orwell (2018), in which he explores nowadays Cuba and investigates the circumstances of the release of Orwell’s classic Nineteen Eighty-Four in communist Cuba. His critically acclaimed Ukraine à fragmentation (2015), the French edition of For Want of a Fir Tree, was shortlisted for the Prix des Libraires 2017. He currently divides his time between Montreal and Mumbai.
"The greatest strength of Orwell in Cuba lies in the street-level view it affords of ordinary Cubans negotiating the absurdities of daily life as an entrenched regime is losing its grip. "
—Ian McGillis, Montreal Review of Books
"Orwell in Cuba is nuanced and compelling. "
—Literary Review of Canada
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