I love this book for many reasons Brin Jonathan Butler writes a beautiful account of Cuba s final years in the US boycott As US Cuban relations improve by the day, the time capsule that has been Havana since 1959 will soon be a thing of the past Butler brings the reader into this world unknown to most in the US It s also an intelligent memoir with chapters that begin with quotes from various works of literature He writes about Hemingway s Cuba, which as Butler informs the reader was surpr I love this book for many reasons Brin Jonathan Butler writes a beautiful account of Cuba s final years in the US boycott As US Cuban relations improve by the day, the time capsule that has been Havana since 1959 will soon be a thing of the past Butler brings the reader into this world unknown to most in the US It s also an intelligent memoir with chapters that begin with quotes from various works of literature He writes about Hemingway s Cuba, which as Butler informs the reader was surprisingly bereft of politics, unlike Hemingway s previous stints abroad And there s also the boxing part, which isa personal account of people who have choices to leave it all behind for obscene amounts of money Some boxers he met outside Cuba have defected, while others he met on the island decided to stay The end of the book reads like a thriller I also appreciated his personal story before and during his trips to Cuba Too often memoirists don t delve into their own stories, but that s not the case in The Domino Diaries This book is special because it appeals to men, women, sports fans, and people who can t be bothered with sports Gonzo, heartfelt, elegiac, remarkable access and insight Blown away. I see today that The Paris Review has just excerpted a chapter from Domino Diaries, and I can see why Brin Jonathan Butler is an astonishing writing talent, and whether he s using his gift to expose naked vulnerabilities about himself or looking at the delusions America and Cuba have about each other from 30,000 feet up, the sensibility he brings to his prose makes me stop breathing sometimes This book is a real gift, full of drama and power, and deep compassion Bravo. A wonderful read that incorporates boxing, Hemingway, and Cuba Great for the beach or the bar and addictive enough to finish in one or two sittings. A powerful and lively work of immersive journalism, Brin Jonathan Butler s story of his time chasing the American dream through CubaWhether he s hustling his way into Mike Tyson s mansion for an interview, betting his life savings on a boxing match against the favorite , becoming romantically entangled with one of Fidel Castro s granddaughters, or simply manufacturing press credentials to go where he wants Brin Jonathan Butler has always been the act first, ask permission later kind of journalist This book is the culmination of Butler s decade spent in the trenches of Havana, trying to understand a culture perplexing to Westerners one whose elite athletes regularly forgo multimillion dollar opportunities to stay in Cuba and box for their country, while living in penury Butler s fascination with this distinctly Cuban idealism sets him off on a remarkable journey, training with, befriending, and interviewing the champion boxers that Cuba seems to produce than any other country In the process, though, Butler gets to know the landscape of the exhilaratingly warm Cuban culture and starts to question where he feels most at home In the tradition of Michael Lewis and John Jeremiah Sullivan, Butler is a keen and humane storyteller, and the perfect guide for this riotous tour through the streets of Havana Loved this not just for the subject a boy who fears he s a coward turns to boxing and books to prove otherwise and the immersion in a Havana that most of us never get to know and now never will but also because Butler is often brilliant when it comes to digging in to his subjects masculinity, Cuba, impossible choices, the ways in which we escape ourselves and imprison ourselves, and Hemingway This book is sending me off to read his others all non fiction, I believe And I recommend lis Loved this not just for the subject a boy who fears he s a coward turns to boxing and books to prove otherwise and the immersion in a Havana that most of us never get to know and now never will but also because Butler is often brilliant when it comes to digging in to his subjects masculinity, Cuba, impossible choices, the ways in which we escape ourselves and imprison ourselves, and Hemingway This book is sending me off to read his others all non fiction, I believe And I recommend listening to an interview with Butler on The Moment, which is a fantastic podcast fabulous story with wonderful writing Journalist put me in the middle of his fantastic experience. Such an excellent book Makes me want to go to Cuba and watch some boxing Well written and completely engaging. I m normally skeptical of memoirs written by those in their 30s, but Butler s is a worthwhile read More than anything, this book is a love letter to the Cuban people Butler s admiration for their resilience, their spirit, their generosity, and their women is quickly made clear Ample quotes from Butler s Cuban friends, acquaintances, and lovers demonstrating conflicting opinions on the Castro regime, Cuba s difficult relationship with America, and the successes and failures of the Revolution I m normally skeptical of memoirs written by those in their 30s, but Butler s is a worthwhile read More than anything, this book is a love letter to the Cuban people Butler s admiration for their resilience, their spirit, their generosity, and their women is quickly made clear Ample quotes from Butler s Cuban friends, acquaintances, and lovers demonstrating conflicting opinions on the Castro regime, Cuba s difficult relationship with America, and the successes and failures of the Revolution While obviously smitten by the island and its inhabitants Butler takes a nuanced approach the government While commending the huge strides Cuba has made in health and literacy, Butler emphasizes that the true legacy of the Cuban Revolution may well be the hundreds, if not thousands, of broken families resulting from decisions to seek better fortune off the island.An interview of former world heavyweight championship Mike Tyson opens the book Tyson notes that the great Cuban boxers fight for glory whereas their American counterparts fight for money Noting the fortunes that he won and lost over the course of his career, Tyson suggests that fighting under the Castro regime may not be all that different from fighting for Don King Contrasting notions of freedom and indebtedness are a consistent theme of the book The ups and downs of great heavyweights champions like Ali, Tyson, and Evander Holyfield are juxtaposed with the careers of three time Olympic gold medalists Te filo Stevenson and F lix Sav n both of whom turned down multi million dollar paydays to fight Ali and Tyson, respectively, and are now as desperate for cash as the majority of their fellow Cubans The importance of the black market is quickly made apparent One of Butler s acquaintances notes that no one makes a better capitalist than a communist Butler manages to secure the last interview of the great Stevenson s life His recounting of the interview, conducted for money, a crime in Cuba, and his telling of Stevenson s demise is particularly poignant.Butler also contrasts Stevenson and Sav n s decision to adhere to the principles of the Revolution and forego million dollar paydays with the choice made by younger Cuban champions such as Guillermo Rigondeaux and Joel Castamayour to accept banishment and separation from their family The notion is that the ideals of the Revolution are no longer applicable to the younger generation is well explored and Butler s descriptions of the horrors involved in leaving the island the sharks, the rocks, the kidnappers are chilling A good coming of age following of a young man who is learning about himself as well as the love that people have for their country From the streets of Cuba comes a quick, memoir that leaves you hoping for the best of all the characters.