Stephen Purvis - Close But No Cigar - Orion Publishing Group

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Other Formats
  • E-Book £P.O.R.
    More information
    • ISBN:9781474605076
    • Publication date:23 Mar 2017
  • Paperback £9.99
    More information
    • ISBN:9781474605069
    • Publication date:05 Apr 2018

Close But No Cigar

A True Story of Prison Life in Castro's Cuba

By Stephen Purvis

  • Hardback
  • £18.99

An eye-opening account of a year spent in a Cuban jail on false spying charges - with all its horrors and absurdities.

WINNER OF THE CRIME WRITERS' ASSOCIATION GOLD DAGGER FOR NON-FICTION 2017

'In its tragic absurdity, Close But No Cigar reads like a Graham Greene story, with a cast of characters to make Hemingway proud' Daily Telegraph

For over a decade Stephen Purvis had been a pillar of Havana's expat community, one of many foreign businessmen investing in Cuba's crawl from Cold War communism towards modernity. But for reasons unknown to him he was also under State Security's microscope. One morning during the height of President Raúl Castro's purges in 2012, while his family slept the unmarked Ladas of State Security arrived at his home and he was taken away into the absurd and brutal world of Cuban justice.

In this engrossing memoir, Purvis recounts his fifteen-month ordeal. Accused at first of selling state secrets, he is taken to the notorious interrogation centre Villa Marista, where he endures brutal conditions designed by the KGB and Stasi to break the bodies and minds of spies and political prisoners, and resists the paranoia and incompetence of his jailers. Later, held in a maximum-security prison, he finds himself surrounded by a motley crew of convicts: people-smugglers and drug-runners together with a handful of confused businessmen also awaiting formal charges.

From his arrest to his farcical secret trial and sudden release, Purvis exposes the madness of modern Cuba with wit, grit and a sharp eye for character. As tourists flock to Havana to marvel at a city frozen in time, he shows that despite reforms and international reconciliation the Castro regime remains a corrupt, dictatorial relic. Close But No Cigar is part thriller, part comedy and part morality tale, but most of all a true story that takes the reader into a dark side of a sunny place that remains an enigma.

Biographical Notes

Stephen Purvis is a Wimbledon-born architect. In 2000 he moved with his wife and four young children to Havana, where his building projects included factories, luxury hotels and a container port. In his thirteen years in Cuba he became a longstanding director of the international school, enjoyed a spot of boxing and the odd cigar, took up painting and to the surprise of all co-produced with Sadler's Wells Theatre the hit dance show Havana Rakatan. He returned to Britain in 2013 and now works in Myanmar.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781474605045
  • Publication date: 23 Mar 2017
  • Page count: 272
  • Imprint: W&N
The Cuban conundrum is that little is what it seems ... In its tragic absurdity, Close but No Cigar reads like a Graham Greene story, with a cast of characters to make Hemingway proud ... his tale should be read by anyone who wants to understand what lies beyond the beaches and Bacardi — Harriet Alexander, DAILY TELEGRAPH
An utterly mesmerising, sometimes grimly funny account of a year spent in a Cuban prison on trumped-up charges. Stephen Purvis has the gift of unshakeably transfixing the reader — Barry Forshaw, Crime Time
This is a book worth reading by all those who ever thought Fidel Castro's regime was a kindly form of socialism ... Purvis has written a gripping and sardonic description of a corrupt and dictatorial country behind the tourist facade — Catholic Herald
[Purvis's] diaries will chill your blood — Mail on Sunday
Powerful — Observer
W&N

Hometown Tales: Glasgow

Kirsty Logan, Paul McQuade
Authors:
Kirsty Logan, Paul McQuade

Original tales by remarkable writersHometown Tales is a series of books pairing exciting new voices with some of the most talented and important writers at work today. Some of the tales are fiction and some are narrative non-fiction - they are all powerful, fascinating and moving, and aim to celebrate regional diversity and explore the meaning of home. In these pages on Glasgow, you'll find two unique tales: a moving account of growing up in the shadow of Woodilee Hospital by author of The Gracekeepers, Kirsty Logan, and a deeply personal journey on foot through the city of Glasgow by Paul McQuade.

W&N

Hometown Tales: Midlands

Kerry Young, Carolyn Sanderson
Authors:
Kerry Young, Carolyn Sanderson
W&N

Hometown Tales: Yorkshire

Cathy Rentzenbrink, Victoria Hennison
Authors:
Cathy Rentzenbrink, Victoria Hennison
W&N

Hometown Tales: Lancashire

Jenn Ashworth, Benjamin Webster
Authors:
Jenn Ashworth, Benjamin Webster
Orion

Hometown Tales: South East

Gemma Cairney
Authors:
Gemma Cairney

Original tales by remarkable writersHometown Tales is a series of books pairing exciting new voices with some of the most talented and important writers at work today. Some of the tales are fiction and some are narrative non-fiction - they are all powerful, fascinating and moving, and aim to celebrate regional diversity and explore the meaning of home. In these pages on the South East, you'll find two unique tales: an illuminating account of living in Margate by award-winning BBC broadcaster Gemma Cairney, and one more tale to be found through open submissions.

Orion

Hometown Tales: Wales

Tyler Keevil
Authors:
Tyler Keevil

Original tales by remarkable writersHometown Tales is a series of books pairing exciting new voices with some of the most talented and important writers at work today. Some of the tales are fiction and some are narrative non-fiction - they are all powerful, fascinating and moving, and aim to celebrate regional diversity and explore the meaning of home. In these pages on Wales, you'll find two unique tales: a captivating exploration of migration by Tyler Keevil, an award-winning writer originally from Canada, now living in Wales, and one more tale to be found through open submissions.

Orion

Hometown Tales: Highlands and Hebrides

Colin MacIntyre, Ellen MacAskill
Authors:
Colin MacIntyre, Ellen MacAskill

Original tales by remarkable writersHometown Tales is a series of books pairing exciting new voices with some of the most talented and important writers at work today. Some of the tales are fiction and some are narrative non-fiction - they are all powerful, fascinating and moving, and aim to celebrate regional diversity and explore the meaning of home In these pages on the Highlands and Hebrides, you'll find two unique tales: an account of growing up on the Isle of Mull by award-winning musician and author of The Letters of Ivor Punch, Colin MacIntyre, and a bold and inspiring coming-of-age story set in Inverness by Ellen MacAskill.

W&N

Hometown Tales: Birmingham

Stewart Lee, Maria Whatton
Authors:
Stewart Lee, Maria Whatton

Original tales by remarkable writersHometown Tales is a series of books pairing exciting new voices with some of the most talented and important writers at work today. Some of the tales are fiction and some are narrative non-fiction - they are all powerful, fascinating and moving, and aim to celebrate regional diversity and explore the meaning of home.In these pages on Birmingham, you'll find two unique tales: a vivid coming-of-age story about a boy who finds himself caught up in the Birmingham pub bombings of 1974 by Maria Whatton. And, from BAFTA Award-winning comedian and author Stewart Lee, a fascinating exploration of the music scene that inspired him growing up in the city.

W&N

Traveling with Ghosts

Shannon Leone Fowler
Authors:
Shannon Leone Fowler
Orion

The Reading Cure

Laura Freeman
Authors:
Laura Freeman

At the age of fourteen, Laura Freeman was diagnosed with anorexia. She had seized the one aspect of her life that she seemed able to control, and struck different foods from her diet one by one until she was starving. But even at her lowest point, the one appetite she never lost was her love of reading.As Laura battled her anorexia, she gradually re-discovered how to enjoy food - and life more broadly - through literature. Plum puddings and pottles of fruit in Dickens gave her courage to try new dishes; the wounded Robert Graves' appreciation of a pair of greengages changed the way she thought about plenty and choice; Virginia Woolf's painterly descriptions of bread, blackberries and biscuits were infinitely tempting. Book by book, meal by meal, Laura developed an appetite and discovered an entire library of reasons to live.The Reading Cure is a beautiful, inspiring account of hunger and happiness, about addiction, obsession and recovery, and about the way literature and food can restore appetite and renew hope.Read by Laura Freeman(p) Orion Publishing Group 2018

W&N

Making a Noise

John Tusa
Authors:
John Tusa
Trapeze

Too Scared To Cry

Maggie Hartley
Authors:
Maggie Hartley
Trapeze

Dogs With Jobs

Laura Greaves
Authors:
Laura Greaves
W&N

Heal Me

Julia Buckley
Authors:
Julia Buckley
Orion Spring

Calm

Fearne Cotton
Authors:
Fearne Cotton

THE FOLLOW UP TO THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER, HAPPY: FINDING JOY IN EVERY DAY AND LETTING GO OF PERFECT'Calm for me is less about thought and much more about feeling. It is a stillness that allows my lungs to expand like hot air balloons. It is an acceptance of the noise around me. It is a magic alchemy that might last a second or a whole day, where I feel relaxed yet aware; still yet dynamic; open yet protected . . . '***In today's always-on world, for many of us it seems impossible to relax, take time out or mute the encircling 'noise'. It is easy to feel trapped in this frenzied state of mind: we are surrounded by negative stories in the press, weighed down by pressures from work, family life or school and subject to constant scrutiny under the all-seeing eye of social media. As a result, mental health illnesses are on the rise in every age group, and more of us than ever before yearn for silence, peace and calm.CALM is Fearne's mission to find the simple things that can inch us away from stress and over to the good stuff. Including expert advice, conversations with wise friends from all walks of life, easy ideas to try, activities to complete - and the little things that have made a difference to her own, sometimes-bumpy life - this book is a friendly reminder that Calm is a place that exists in us all, we just have to find our way back to it.

W&N

Goodbye Europe

Various
Authors:
Various

This is not a book about politics. It is a book about what makes us British, and what makes us European.Spend time with some of your favourite writers and artists in this truly unique collection spanning everything from art, language, food, music and movies, to war, literature, driving, nudity, geography, smoking and nature.Featuring pieces of exceptional quality from some of our most treasured novelists, historians, journalists, poets and artists, including: Jessie Burton, Richard Herring, Alain de Botton, Tom Bradby, Val McDermid, Matt Haig, Afua Hirsch, Lionel Shriver, Sarah Perry, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Ian Rankin, Owen Jones, Mark Kermode, Robert Macfarlane, Chris Riddell, Former Prime Minister Jim Hacker and many more.A must-read for anyone who wants to understand the times we live in, our relationship with the continent, and ourselves.* * * * *INCLUDES PIECES BY:Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Tom Bradby, Jessie Burton, Ben Collins (aka The Stig), Colonel Tim Collins, Robert Crampton, Adam Dant, Alain de Botton, Kate Eberlen, Matt Frei, Nicci French, Simon Garfield, Jonathan Lynn writing as Former Prime Minister Jim Hacker, Matt Haig, Richard Herring, Jennifer Higgie, Afua Hirsch, Owen Jones, Oliver Kamm, Alex Kapranos, Mark Kermode, Hari Kunzru, Olivia Laing, Marie Le Conte, Amy Liptrot, Robert Macfarlane, Henry Marsh, Val McDermid, Ian McEwan, Hollie McNish, Kate Mosse, Jenni Murray, Sarah Perry, Ian Rankin, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Cathy Rentzenbrink, Chris Riddell, Andrew Roberts, Will Self, David Shrigley, Lionel Shriver, Sunny Singh, Ece Temelkuran, Rob Temple, Bee Wilson, Sarah Winman

W&N

The Vanity Fair Diaries: 1983–1992

Tina Brown
Authors:
Tina Brown
Orion

See Ya Later

Arron Crascall
Authors:
Arron Crascall
W&N

Get Me the Urgent Biscuits

Sweetpea Slight
Authors:
Sweetpea Slight
W&N

Waiting for the Albino Dunnock

Rosamond Richardson
Authors:
Rosamond Richardson