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A Cuban Redemption Story

Publication Date: 
August 30, 2013
Palo Alto Weekly
Elena Kadvany

Copyright law, race, politics and music all intersect in Professor Paul Goldstein’s award-winning legal thriller “Havana Requiem.” Professor Goldstein recently spoke with the Palo Alto Weekly’s Elena Kadvany to discuss how his love for literature and the law led him to copyright law.

"Havana Requiem" by Paul Goldstein; Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 308 pages; $26

Stanford University law professor Paul Goldstein thinks that "if you scratch any of the lawyer heroes in contemporary fiction in America, you don't have to scratch too deep to find Atticus Finch looking back at you."

This is all too true in Goldstein's latest novel, "Havana Requiem," which won the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction in July. The prize, sponsored by the ABA Journal and the University of Alabama School of Law, is awarded each year to a novel that continues the tradition of the author it is named for, exemplifying the complex role lawyers play in society and celebrating the ideals embodied by "To Kill a Mockingbird's" Atticus Finch.


"Havana Requiem" is Goldstein's third novel featuring Michael Seeley, an intellectual- property attorney and modern-day incarnation of Finch for whom the rule of law "is in the marrow of his bones," Goldstein said.


Goldstein himself said he fell in love with copyright his second year at Columbia Law School, from which he graduated in 1967.

"I didn't like law school the first year," Goldstein said. "I decided that if I was going to stay, I was going to somehow connect it to what was really my passion, which was literature."