|SIMON & SCHUSTER|
the guardian Tue 16 October 2012
This is the eighth book in Kennedy's Albany cycle, featuring dynasties of crooks, jazz musicians, politicians and heroes. The latest instalment harks back to events in earlier volumes, giving the large array of characters a deepening sense of history. In 1957 Daniel Quinn, journalist, follows in his grandfather's footsteps to Havana and is dramatically caught up in the Cuban revolution. Falling in love with glamorous, gun-running Renata Otero, he is plunged into powerful santería magic, meets Hemingway and Castro and courts danger in the best tradition of the macho American hero-writer. Jumping forward to 1968, Quinn is back in Albany when Bobby Kennedy is shot and the city erupts with racial tension. He thrusts himself, as ever, into the action, championing the Black Brothers and filing news stories that provoke his paper's politically partisan owners. By turns muscular and experimental, realist and dreamlike, the novel moves swiftly back and forth along twin axes of time and location. Keep up and one is richly rewarded.