Restless Books is thrilled to be publishing Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo'sAbandoned Havana, part of our series of perspective-expanding books from Cuba. Dissident Cuban writer, photographer, and pioneering blogger Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo presents a collection of surreal, irony-laden photos and texts from his native city. His “diary of dystopia”—an unexpected fusion of images and words—brings us closer to Havana’s scaffolded and crumbling facades, ramshackle waterfronts, and wild diversity of human bodies. In this book, as beautiful and bleak as Havana itself, Pardo guides us through the relics and fables of an exhausted Revolution in the waning days of Castro’s Cuba.
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La Habana Abandonada
de Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo
El escritor disidente, fotógrafo, y pionero entre los blogueros cubanos Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo nos presenta una colección de textos surreales e irónicos sobre su ciudad natal. Este “diario de la distopía” –fusión inesperada de palabra e imagen– nos acerca a desmoronantes fachadas con andamios, muelles desvencijados, y desbordantes cuerpos humanos. En este libro, tan bello y baldío como La Habana misma, Pardo Lazo nos guía a través de las reliquias y fábulas de una Revolución exhausta en los penúltimos días de la Cuba de Castro.
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“It is difficult to capture in images the soul of a landscape or a city, perhaps because they don’t have one alone but many. Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo’s photographs, and the commentaries they are accompanied with, capture whirlwinds of souls and offer them to us in such way that our own soul is transformed. They teach us how to see inside out and toward the depth of things, without slipping on the surface of things.”
—Fernando Savater, author of Amador and winner of the Octavio Paz Prize
“Some [photographs] have a sly humor, others an abstract beauty...Mr. Pardo Lazo resists any easy categorization.”
—David González, The New York Times Lens Blog
"It is difficult to live the Cuban reality, but if you attempt to do so while also narrating and placing it in images, the process is as painful as it is enlightening. Orlando Luís Pardo Lazo has experienced that pain and transmits it to us now in words and photos."
—Yoani Sanchez, blogger
“He is giving us the poetics of the city that is not touristy, nostalgic, or exotic...He is giving people a way to read the politics of daily occurrences...He juxtaposes the eternal beauty of the city and the real political urgencies of the moment.”
—Ana M. Dopico, New York University
From the Book
"Like a Cuban of Cuba, I have walked among these antisocial shadows of socialism with my Canon camera hanging around my neck, almost as a punishment. I have seen, I have shot, I have been a witness to the terminal phase. Click, flash, thousands of mute images. With so much gazing into the abyss of barbarity I have become one more shadow, within the speechlessness of that mystery full of ministries that still calls itself Havana. Veni, vidi, vici?"