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HAVANA TWIST
By Lia Matera

Pocket Star Books, 1999
ISBN 0-671-00421-2

Reviewed by S. E. Warwick

I love Willa Jansson's mother, June. She's a cross between Lucy Ricardo and the lighter side of the Weather Underground. Ever the dreamer, June doesn't realize that the cold war is over and socialism is mostly out of business.

Still fervently waiting for the revolution, June and a group of her fellow travelers head for the last bastion of socialism, Castro's Cuba, to see the glories of the revolution first hand so they can convince the misguided American government that the embargo should be lifted.

The Cubans are glad to welcome the Americans for a carefully guided tour and officially relieve them of their dollars.

Used to her mother's high weird sense of adventure, California lawyer Willa Jansson knows that some socialist angel usually watches over her mother on her travels. This time however, June doesn't come home.

Sensing something is very wrong, Willa goes to Cuba to bring mom home. Her description of the plane she rides from Mexico to Cuba will make you think twice before complaining that your peanuts are stale on US airliners.

Matera paints wonderful pictures of the sights, sounds and smells of contemporary Cuba as Jansson plays an intriguing game of who do you trust with virtually everyone she meets.

The plot is well-paced and the characters all too believable. The ending makes sense to anyone who loves their mother even if they can't follow her logic.


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