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Chango's Beads and Two-Tone Shoes

A Novel

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


Selected by The New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of the Year
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Ironweed, a dramatic novel of love and revolution from one of America's finest writers.

When journalist Daniel Quinn meets Ernest Hemingway at the Floridita bar in Havana, Cuba, in 1957, he has no idea that his own affinity for simple, declarative sentences will change his life radically overnight.

So begins William Kennedy's latest novel-a tale of revolutionary intrigue, heroic journalism, crooked politicians, drug-running gangsters, Albany race riots, and the improbable rise of Fidel Castro. Quinn's epic journey carries him through the nightclubs and jungles of Cuba and into the newsrooms and racially charged streets of Albany on the day Robert Kennedy is fatally shot in 1968. The odyssey brings Quinn, and his exotic but unpredictable Cuban wife, Renata, a debutante revolutionary, face-to-face with the darkest facets of human nature and illuminates the power of love in the presence of death.

Kennedy masterfully gathers together an unlikely cast of vivid characters in a breathtaking adventure full of music, mysticism, and murder-a homeless black alcoholic, a radical Catholic priest, a senile parent, a terminally ill jazz legend, the imperious mayor of Albany, Bing Crosby, Hemingway, Castro, and a ragtag ensemble of radicals, prostitutes, provocateurs, and underworld heavies. This is an unforgettably riotous story of revolution, romance, and redemption, set against the landscape of the civil rights movement as it challenges the legendary and vengeful Albany political machine.

From Publishers Weekly

Aug 22, 2011 – Pulitzer Prize winner Kennedy continues to chronicle his native Albany, N.Y., after a detour through Cuba, in his bracing new novel (after Roscoe). American journalist Daniel Quinn is in 1950s Havana reporting the revolution. In the Floridita bar, Ernest Hemingway introduces him to 23-year-old Cuban socialite Renata Otero, and Quinn is bewitched at first sight. An assassination attempt on Batista led by a group of revolutionaries that includes Renata s lover lands her in hot water, but Quinn s connections both political and revolutionary open doors for Renata that set her free and lead Quinn to Fidel s secret Sierra Maestra camp. These heady days of revolution inform the novel s second turbulent period 1968 and find Quinn back in Albany covering the machinations of the Democratic steamroller that is slowly crushing the capital s largely black urban poor. Robert Kennedy has just been shot, and in the course of that day Quinn receives unexpected visitors from his past and documents the racial tension boiling over in Albany. Kennedy s journalistic training is manifest in a clear, sure voice that swiftly guides the reader through a rich, multilayered, refreshingly old-school narrative. Thick with backroom deal making and sharp commentary on corruption, Kennedy s novel describes a world he clearly knows, and through plenty of action, careful historical detail, and larger-than-life characters, he brilliantly brings it to life.

Customer Reviews

Very Disappointing

I have enjoyed a few of Kennedy's books but did not finish this one. I did not care about the characters nor what happened to them...EAF

Chango's Beads and Two-Tone Shoes
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  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Sep 29, 2011
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
  • Print Length: 336 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings