Through the Wall:
A Year in Havana
By Margot Pepper
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Margot Pepper's memoir propels us through the blockade to post-cold war Cuba. It's a surreal world where high-ranking officials are required to pick up hitch-hikers. Root canals, cosmetic surgery and graduate school are free, but toilet paper is exorbitant. There's no income tax nor homelessness, yet no house-paint either. As the story unfolds, Margot pursues a passionate love affair with a penniless Mexican poet who shakes up her views about Cuba. With cinematic vividness, Through the Wall reveals the failures and successes of one of the few functioning alternatives to corporate-run government, and draws out lessons that will be embraced by all who believe another world is possible.
ISBN: 0-915117-17-7 $19.95 Order info
Critical Praise for Through the Wall and Margot Pepper
"From her unique vantage point as a journalist working for a year in Special Period Cuba, Margot Pepper has written a smart and politically sophisticated memoir. Interweaving her past as the Mexico City-born daughter of a blacklisted Hollywood producer with the travails of her daily life in Cuba and the larger context of Cuban society in general, her work is imbued with her own political analysis and convictions and captures the feelings as well as the heartbeat of struggling Cuba during such a crucial time. Bravo, Margot Pepper, for writing such an honest and important work. ¡Punto!"
--Piri Thomas, author of Down These Mean Streets
"Margot Pepper's memoir reveals a side of Cuba that most U.S. readers have never seen. Yet it's also about the transformation of individuals, relationships, and societies, and the enlightenment that can sometimes follow those transformations. Through the Wall is far more than a book about Cuba."
--Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Global Exchange
"An unusually talented and perceptive young writer with a natural gift for expressing herself."
--Ring Lardner Jr., Hollywood Ten author of screenplay M*A*S*H.
"Margot Pepper's writing is compelling, able to capture the voice and tenor of those who often do not have a voice in literature, conveying resonant stories for all of us."
--Luis J. Rodriguez, author of Always Running.
"Through the Wall is a truly significant book. More than a significant book!"
--Gerard Colby, president of the National Writer's Union.
About the Author
Born in Mexico City, Margot Pepper's fiction, poetry, translations and articles have appeared in the Utne Reader, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, publications by City Lights, Poetry Flash, El Andar, Canada's The Scoop, France's Le Courrier, Hampton Brown's A Chorus of Cultures, as well as in her first book, At This Very Moment. Her most recent article in the popular City Lights-Freedom Voices anthology, September 11 and the U.S. War, Beyond the Curtain of Smoke, examines the current U.S. climate within the geopolitical framework that emerged after World War II and gave rise to McCarthyism. A graduate of San Francisco State's M.F.A. program in creative writing, she has worked as both a Spanish immersion teacher and poet with California Poets in the Schools for a decade. Her spoken word performances include Yerba Buena Gardens, the Oakland Museum of California, the San Francisco Book Festival, Intersection for the Arts, Barnes & Noble and the National Library of Havana. Pepper has been a featured writer on KPFA's Flashpoints and the Morning Show. She has just completed a curriculum guide for teachers, (Poetry is Using Your Senses) and a collection of short stories of magic realism and science fiction: Everyone, Everyone Can Win!
About Freedom Voices
Freedom Voices (FV) publishes works that speak to or from communities on the margins. Founded in 1989 as a project of the Tenderloin Reflection and Education Center (TREC), the press began as an outlet for the writings from TREC workshops held in San Francisco's urban core. Native Athabaskan poet Mary TallMountain, a Tenderloin resident and activist, was one of the first writers published by the press and FV works closely with the TallMountain Circle to preserve publish and distribute the works of Mary TallMountain who died in 1994.
In addition to Tenderloin-based writers, FV has published a revised edition of Voice of Fire, an anthology of Zapatista writings, co-edited by Ben Clarke and Clifton Ross; September 11 and the U.S. War Beyond the Curtain of Smoke, co-edited by Roger Burbach and Ben Clarke; and Image and Imagination Encounters with the Photography of Dorothea Lange, edited by Ben Clarke.
In 1999 FV acquired New Earth Publications, and expanded its editorial scope through titles such as Ernesto Cardenal's epic poem Quetzalcoatl translated by Clifton Ross, and At the Bottom, A Woman's Life in Central America, by Luisa Gonzales.
The press continues to sponsor readings and workshops in San Francisco's Tenderloin district and recently published Back to the Streets a collection of writings by workshop member George Wynn. FV's latest release, Through the Wall, A Year in Havana, by Margot Pepper, takes readers on an intimate journey to Cuba, and continues the press' tradition of reaching out to marginalized communities wherever located.