I wish I could have breezed through Beautiful Fools as I did with Islands in the Stream years ago, but the real Cuba always kept getting in the way. Seriously: A clipper seaplane that takes off from Biscayne Bay, only to land later on the ground in Havana airport? A girl named Yonaydis in late 30s Cuba? A man by the name of Famosa? A Gipsy fortune teller in Varadero beach? Fulgencio Batista a fascist back in the time when he was a populist leader revered even by Cuban communists? And on top of that, armed soldiers mounting guard around tourist attractions in Old Havana? Where did R. Clifton Spargo get his cues for his novel? I realize both in literature and in the movies Cuba has been often a mere backdrop for the soul-searching adventures of American characters –in this case Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald trying to mend their broken marriage and their own broken selves while vacationing in the island– but do writers have to reserve the clumsiest strokes in their palette to depict the country where I was born?