The woman is flying in small airplane and sees in the distance the great cumbrous mass of El Yunque, the flat-topped mesa that announces the historic town of Baracoa. She has likely heard the legend of the Honey River, where it is said that the person who bathes in its waters and gets married in Baracoa must stay there forever. She knows people in Baracoa. She is going to meet Onaldo, her Afro-Cuban lover, and she will become ‘Katrina’ to continue her private journals. In this series of linked fictions, unified by place and a cast of overlapping characters, Karina travels the length of El Caimán, the alligator which is Cuba.
The narratives that make up this book have their origins in Hale’s travel journal, but emerge as stories, arriving at that place just beyond creative non-fiction. Vivid and sensitive portraits are balanced with the dark undercurrents of Cuban life. Katrina witnesses how politics have re-shaped the culture and lives of the people she encounters, while she falls deeply in love with the true and hidden life of El Caimán.