The Domino Diaries PDF/EPUB ↠ The Domino PDF or

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


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    The appeal of boxing lies in its simplicity It is bare stripped down and always points to the truth Butler’s writing on boxing often reflects this and he is undoubtedly one of the best boxing writers working today though anyone expecting this book to be a simple straight forward boxing memoir may be a little disappointed This is a book about something deeper than sports and nothing about it is simple or straightforwardThe start of the book is admittedly a little muddled Butler’s family recollections and portraits of his early forays into boxing are erratic and skittish – he’s like Ali in the first round against Liston leaping around here and there landing little of significance It’s when he first visits Cuba that he really plants his feet and lets his hands go and that’s when this memoir comes into its ownButler first discovers the island as a young man in his early twenties an amateur boxer intoxicated by literature and the romance of Hemingway He ends up training with Héctor Vinent two time Olympic gold medalists and encounters various characters along the way including a memorable meeting with Gregorio Fuentes the inspiration for Hemingway’s ‘Old Man and the Sea’ Eventually he is pulled into the orbit of the legendary Guillermo Rigondeaux perhaps the greatest fighter ever to come out of Cuba and one of its most infamous defectors Butler follows Rigondeaux’s professional career in the US and examines the seismic repercussions of his defection both on the political landscape of Cuba and for those he left behindHe visits Cuba again and again interviewing family and friends of Rigodeaux and becoming enmeshed and fascinated with his story as the years roll by He’s kind of like ‘the man in black’ in HBO’s Westworld wandering through a world frozen in time looking for answers and meaning surrounded by hosts trapped in loops who know they are unable to leave and seem to grow self aware and frustrated by the minuteThe end of the river for Butler is meeting the great Teófilo Stevenson For boxing fans like myself this is the hold your –breath 'Willard meets Colonel Kurtz' moment The three time heavyweight Olympic gold medallist is the Muhammad Ali of Cuba and arguable its 2nd favourite citizen after FidelUnfortunately the Stevenson Butler finds is far removed from the great idol of yesteryear now a hopeless alcoholic in tracksuit bottoms spouting crumbling platitudes as dusty and broken down as the American car rusting in his drivewayThe man famous for turning down millions of dollars to fight in America is unable to even afford tyres for his car and the video footage of him asking for money before submitting to an interview is sobering and heart breaking As endings go though it asks far questions than it answers It could be viewed as a scathing attack on the Cuban system though Joe Louis one of America’s most revered champions was treated far ruthlessly by a capitalist society than Stevenson ever was In Cuba an athlete does not have the freedom to fall as far as some American champions have but maybe that is a tragedy in itself?Butler writes with the heart of a pugilist and the soul of a poet and this is a book imbued with a rare passion and insight Ultimately though Cuba and its people remain an elusive quarry resisting any attempt at simple explanation It doesn’t matter what lens Butler chooses to view Cuba through – it stubbornly refuses to come into sharp focus and remains a place of mystique and beguiling ambiguity