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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments

A masterpiece of mood and setting, character and remembrance, The Cuban Club is Barry Gifford’s ultimate coming-of-age story told as sixty-seven linked tales, a creation myth of the Fall as seen through the eyes of an innocent child on the cusp of becoming an innocent man.

Set in Chicago in the 1950s and early 1960s against the backdrop of small-time hoodlums in the Chicago mob and the girls and women attached to them, there is the nearness of heinous crimes, and the price to be paid for them. To Roy and his friends, these twists and tragedies drift by like curious flotsam. The tales themselves are koan-like, often ending in questions, with rarely a conclusion. The story that closes the book is in the form of a letter from Roy to his father four years after his father’s death, but written as if he were still alive. Indeed, throughout The Cuban Club Roy is still in some doubt whether divorce or even death really exists in a world where everything seems so alive and connected.


“What Gifford does with just a few pages is nothing short of magical. These very short stories straddle innocence and experience, good and evil. His tales are always dense with information, yet register with dreamlike intensity and have the resonance of an epiphany.” Jim Ruland, author of Forest of Fortune


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Barry Gifford screenings and live readings in NYC


Barry Gifford will appear this Wednesday Nov. 30th, along with Willem Dafoe and director Oscar Bucher at the NY premiere of the film Nelson Algren Live at the Metrograph theatre.



The evening of December 6th, he’ll be reading at McNally Jackson Books on Spring Street in Manhattan for the paperback release of The Up-Down.

And on Dec 8th at the Brooklyn public library he’ll be reading with the writers Paul Auster, Don Delillo, and others at the 20th anniversary celebration of Seven Stories Press.

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Upcoming Appearances March 2016


Friday, March 25 @ 7:30 PM
at Powell’s City of Books
1005 W Burnside St.
Portland, OR

Gifford will read from his new book of plays “WRITERS” and be joined by author and musician Willie Vlautin, author of The Motel Life and The Free.


Saturday, March 26 @ 7:00 PM
at The Hollywood Theatre in Porland, Oregon

35mm Print Screening of Wild at Heart with Author Barry Gifford

WILD AT HEART (1990): The classic crime thriller directed by David Lynch! After serving prison time for a self-defense killing, Sailor Ripley (Nicolas Cage) reunites with girlfriend Lula Fortune (Laura Dern). Lula’s mother (Diane Ladd), desperate to keep them apart, hires a hit man to kill Sailor. But Sailor and Lula find a whole new set of troubles when they cross paths with Bobby Peru (Willem Dafoe), an old acquaintance out to get Sailor.

The Hollywood Theatre is located at NE 41st and NE Sandy in Portland, Oregon
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