TROPICAL DEPRESSION

THE CUBA OF PICO IYER'S NEW NOVEL IS A ROMANTIC'S EDEN, WHERE PRINCIPLES CRUMBLE AWAY AND CERTAINTIES DISSOLVE

The title of Pico Iyer's fine, rich and heady first novel, Cuba and the Night (Knopf; 234 pages; $22), comes from a line of poetry written by Josa Mart’: "Dos patrias tengo yo: Cuba y la noche" (Two fatherlands have I: Cuba and the night). The implication being, and it is one the novel endorses, that when the sun goes down, principles crumble away, loyalties falter, certainties dissolve. The dichotomy and the dilemma are all the stronger, one imagines, if you are not a Cuban. Iyer, who occasionally writes essays for Time, conjures up Cuba as a kind of permanent night;...

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