Poet and novelist Pablo Medinaâ€™s Cubop City Blues fuses raw, passionate language and elegant lyricism to breathe life into a musically disguised New York City shaped by jazz masters, refugees, and storytellers.
Our guide into Cubop City is The Storyteller, born nearly blind and shrouded in his motherâ€™s guilt. Heâ€™s homeschooled inside his parentsâ€™ crumbling apartment with a European housekeeper, and educated through Encyclopedia Britannica,The Bible, and Arabian Nights. When he's twenty-five, his mother and father are diagnosed with cancer, and The Storyteller is left to care for them. He does so by telling them stories conceived from the prolific reading that allowed his imagination to flourish despite little contact with the outside world.
Through his talesfull of magic, sorrow, longing, loveCubop City surges to life. Moving through myriad points of view, The Storyteller imagines a world populated by both well-known figures like Chano Pozo and Jelly Roll Morton, and invented characters, most notably a mustachioed man who is stabbed by a stranger and embarks on a novel-long search for his attacker.
Molded in the cadence of Afro-Cuban jazz, Cubop City Blues is a symphonic portrait of a bustling urban landscape and the intimate lives that give a city its voice.