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DNF with about 40 pages left Very dry narration and an uninteresting plot, sadly TW: Sexual assault, murder, rape I've long been fascinated by Cuba The country has a rich history with a very beautiful landscape When I saw that this book was a must read for anyone interested in Cuba or Cuban history I absolutely knew I had to pick it up.In all honesty I was just downright dissapointed While Garcia's writing style isn't horrible, it is still far from great in my opinion The sentence structure is choppy and I could tell the author had trouble conveying any coherent idea Most of the sentences in my opinion were so full of fluff and unnecessary wording I actually wonder how any publisher could approve of this.The story alternates from the perspective of several people in a large Cuban family When an author has so many characters, it is their duty to give each character a unique voice so the reader can differentiate them Garcia did not do this At all I had to flip back and forth several times just to remember who was speaking A woman in her 70s should not have the same voice as a teenage boy (Side note: I've read various interviews with different authors and many of them state how they really had to work hard in order to do this so I know it can be done.) Finally, the characters themselves are just so unlikable Few of them have any redeeming qualities and because of this I just didn't care what happened to them So, between the horrible sentence structure, the lack of distinct voices and awful characters Just leave this one on the shelf. This is not just misery porn It's feminist postcolonial multicultural misery porn which is somehow supposed to be better But it isn't It's just women being miserable because they won't get off their asses and do something about it Pilar, the youngest woman followed in the novel, is supposed to be the hope of the future, but she's just as bad as all the rest All of her references to the late 70's punk scene in New York start to sound a bit too researched after a while She namedrops all the big bands: Lou Reed, The Ramones, Sex Pistols Apparently Pilar never went to listen to a real underground band that never signed to a major record label Oh, and she totally painted a picture that referenced the cover of Sex Pistol's God Save the Queen album cover a year before the album came out What The hell Ever.I liked Felicia a bit , but I get the feeling that she was crazy simply because Great Literature requires a woman being driven crazy by her sexual desires that nice women don't have García at first tries to blame this on syphilis, but then at the end Felicia dies of a mysterious unnamed illness that is quite clearly AIDS Actually, what happens is that Felicia becomes Angel from Rent except she doesn't come back at the end and make it all better Once she escaped from the book she stayed gone and good for her.Lourdes is the only one who actually did have terrible things outside of her control happen to her, all it does is turn her into an evil bitch Eventually she becomes a caricature merely to torment Pilar who can do no wrong because she's just, like, confused, man Also Lourdes is fat, which is a horrible, horrible character flaw because fat women are gross Again I say: What The hell Ever.Celia might have been interesting if she had had any character development, but alas such was not the case In the end she decided to follow her daughter Felicia's example and drown herself at the end of the novel Again I say: Good for her.Oh, and in case you missed the brickbat hitting you over the head, all men are evil and the source of all evil Thank you and good night. What a delight to not only find an author who I'd never read before, but discover that she has manybooks for me to read! I can’t believe I never knew about her works before! I feel like I uncovered a treasure chest, a rich lush story that was so captivating that once I finished, I immediately reread it And the best part, I read it while on vacation in Cuba! The story follows the lives of 4 women; the grandmother who still lives in Cuba and believes in the revolution, her 2 daughters, one who stays in Cuba and is involved in the Santera religion and the other who moved to New York, as well as her granddaughter, a rebellious teenager into abstract painting and punk rockAlthough I enjoy many genre of literature, and the past 2 years I’ve discovered contemporary fantasy, Magical realism is still will always be my favourite. [ FREE PDF ] ♿ Dreaming in Cuban ⚓ Here is the dreamy and bittersweet story of a family divided by politics and geography by the Cuban revolution It is the family story of Celia del Pino, and her husband, daughter and grandchildren, from the mids toCelia's story mirrors the magical realism of Cuba itself, a country of beauty and poverty, idealism and corruption DREAMING IN CUBAN presents a unique vision and a haunting lamentation for a past that might have been The Lost Boys: A Family Ripped Apart by War and her husband The Sizzling Spanish (Horrible History Magazines, daughter and grandchildren Dog's Colorful Day: A Messy Story About Colors and Counting from the mids toCelia's story mirrors the magical realism of Cuba itself Ya no quedan junglas adonde regresar a country of beauty and poverty Pure Genius : Dan Sullivan's Lifetime Focusing System for Total Self-mastery idealism and corruption DREAMING IN CUBAN presents a unique vision and a haunting lamentation for a past that might have been
Dreaming in Cuban was an allencompassing and heartbreaking saga of three generations of a family caught up in the cataclysmic historical events taking place in Cuba during the revolution Although there is a lot of history here, for me the heart of the story were the lives of the matriarch Celia and her granddaughter Pilar Celia's life was told in epistolary form as she wrote letters to her first love, giving us great insight to her sensibilities and inner life and yearnings Pilar developed her artistic talents while living in New York with her family yearning for a time to go back to Cuba to reunite with her grandmother This is the kind of book that speaks to my heart, an author that I will read again.Mostly, though I paint her in blue Until I returned to Cuba, I never realized how many blues exist The aquamarines near the shoreline, the azures of deeper waters, the eggshell blues beneath my grandmother's eyes, the fragile indigos tracking her hands There's a blue, too, in the curves of the palms, and the edges of the words we speak, a blue tinge to the sand and the seashells and the plump gulls on the beach The mole by Abuela's mouth is also blue, a vanishing blue. True to the title, this book is definitely Cuban and dreamy The story follows three generations of Cuban women, jumping forward and backward in time, hopping back and forth between Cuba and New York, and switching between a variety of narrative styles (i.e third person, first person, and epistolary) This variety in time, location, style and person contributes to the dreamy ambiance, but for me it was a bit nightmarish The human and family relationships in this story all seem afflicted with various strains caused by disease, mental illness, obsession, repression, hysteria etc There's just too much dysfunctional family behavior, poor life choices and emotional unhappiness in this book for me There's not a single romantic relationship in this book that is healthy and supportive.All through the book I kept telling myself that if it doesn't have a coherent ending that wraps things up in a reasonable manner I'm going to give it a rating of one star Well as it turns out that it did have a pretty good ending, so I'm giving it two stars Actually, the last 20% of the book deserves five stars, but with the other 80% at one star the book averages out at two stars.I experienced this book as an example of creative/experimental/MFA writing that went overboard to no purpose other than to show off writing skills and confuse the reader It's the sort of book that gets assigned to modern literature classes in order to torment the students.However, upon finishing this book I see the completed story as a sad tragedy (view spoiler)[In the end a grandchild who has grown up in New York visits her grandmother for the first time in twenty years (she was a baby when she left) Then together with her mother they connive to arrange for another grandchild who has grown up in Cuba to leave the country for the USA Consequently, the grandmother is left alone in Cuba with no remaining children or grandchildren Sad! (hide spoiler)] Set against the background of the Cuban Revolution, Cristina García's Dreaming in Cuban is a story that spans three generations of women in the del Pino/Almeida family, highlighting the things that tie them together and those which push them apart.The book opens with a vision of a man walking across water, a vision seen through a pair of binoculars, by Celia, the matriarchal grandmother The man she sees is her ailing husband, Jorge del Pino who left for the United States four years earlier to seek medical attention Observing the apparition, she understands that he has passed on.Her daughter Lourdes from whom she is estranged and her granddaughter Pilar, with whom she communicates through a kind of telepathic relationship, live in America Celia is pro the Castro regime while Lourdes abhors it On opposite sides of the revolutionary fence, neither will budge in their views or actions, despite the consequent rupture in their relationship and the knock on effect it has for others in the family, forced to take sides.Pilar understands her grandmother and hates that the mother and daughter's political beliefs prevent her from being closer to either of them She rebels herself without knowing against what exactly, manifesting her discomfort with the world through impassioned artworks that initially disturb her mother and inspire harsh criticism, but which will eventually bring them closer together.The past is also invoked through a series of letters written by Celia to Gustavo, the man she first loved, who it is revealed is the not the man she married Though none of these letters were ever sent, they continue to be written over the years, a place where Celia shares her innermost thoughts, desires and regrets.Her second daughter Felicia never leaves Cuba, marries, has children and at a certain point becomes somewhat deranged, remarrying twice in quick succession, attracting tragedy from the moment of her second marriage She becomes deluded, seeks refuge in music and the AfroCuban cult of Santeria, becomes a priestess and loses herself completely.Similarly to Edwidge Danticat's Breath, Eyes, Memory, Cristina García explores themes of separation and identity, exile, the survival strategies of women and mother's and the long threads of cultural connection that continue to exist despite the miles that come to separate those who embrace them.In literature, it tends to be referred to as magical realism, that occasional departure from the firm reality we are sure of, however it seems almost too easy to dismiss it as a literary device and ignore the connections between and within certain cultural traditions, where this ethereal communication between the living and the dead, those present and those who are not, exists alongside themundane communication we all indulge in.I have noticed this tendency occurring in my recent reading of Jamaica Kincaid's The Autobiography of My Mother, Maryse Condé's Victoire Edwidge Danticat's Breath, Eyes, Memory and Cristina García's work, writers from Antigua, Guadeloupe, Haiti and Cuba respectively and find it adds something essential and attractive to the narrative.A brilliant addition to a growing collection of literature from this region, in a style I adore A 5 star read for me Highly recommended. Read this once before years ago I forgot the plot entirely but I remember disliking it immensely I decided to give it another go I'm slogging through it and disliking it immensely all over again Do not know if I can make myself finish but I have a real problem leaving books unfinished! I dislike every single character in the book and am having problems caring what happens to them The disjointed style and absolute darkness of the story make it seemlike a nightmare than a dream I feel like there is better literature out there about the Cuban diaspora that is not so allencompassingly bleak This book does not capture the spirit of joie de vivre that most Cubans havea spirit that carries them through their darkest, most harrowing days and that allows them to live on despite the obstacles and hardships of life either on or off the island The women in this book might be resilient, but they seem to have such a grudge against life that they do not seem Cuban at all I also feel like a lot of the magical realism in the book is forced and feels out of place **** UPDATE ****After completing the book, I feel a little less negatively toward it than I did the first time I read it I still wasn't wild about it, but I enjoyed the ending of the bookthan any of the rest of it I actually enjoyed the ambiguous ending as well.The family story felt too scatteredit was difficult to see how each family member's story related to the other and there were so many narratives to keep track of that it was tediousreading a book should feel effortless You can encounter big thoughts but the words need to be rendered seamlessly so as to make you unaware of them None of the characters really seemed to care about each othereven Pilar and her grandmother, Celia, who supposedly have some sort of mythic spiritual/psychic connection, seem barely connected Their relationship was supposed to be very strong yet it was weakly rendered Interestingly, what I most enjoyed about this book was a Q A with the author at the end, where a lot of her sentiments about dealing with CubanAmerican identity rang particularly true for me as a CubanAmerican woman and writer Perhaps she should write a book of essays about the subject, because she seems particularly eloquent as a nonfiction writer.Another huge problem I have with this book, that I am just realizing, is that it's a book about Cuba and being Cuban, and yet Cuba does not at all feel like a character in this book It just seems like a background setting There is little description of it and little sense of what it really means to be Cuban Any exile will tell you that their country is like a part of them, yet the scant attention paid to the Island itself was disappointing.Would not recommend this book to readers looking for fiction on Cubans and CubanAmericans, and will not reread it a third time! Phew, two was enough. In interviews I'm often asked what books shaped me the most, so I've decided to start a shelf where I write about the books that left an impact early in life Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia is the first that came to mind.I was in high school when I first heard of it, a freshman in English class My teacher had photocopied the first chapter It began:Celia del Pino, equipped with binoculars and wearing her best housedress and drop pearl earrings, sits in her wicker swing guarding the north coast of Cuba.That one line could carry so much—character, setting, ambience, suspense—is a testament to Garcia's incredible writing And the name, Celia del PinoI'd grown up in the Miami public school system and had gone this long (until 9th grade!) never having read book about Latinas, written by a Latina This is a multigenerational story about the Cuban Revolution, portrayed through four women—mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers—who are all deeply connected through memory and their ties to Cuba, but separated by time, space, and life At a sentence level, Garcia’s writing reads like poetry, with unexpected leaps of language that give the narrative a magical feel But step back and she creates a world that juxtaposes the lost paradise of Cuba with the nostalgiafilled island that still lives in the hearts of those in exile.Years later, I revisited Dreaming in Cuban as a sopho in college I was majoring in Creative Writing with a concentration in poetry.I can still picture the moment I turned the last page of this novel I was sitting in my bedroom, in my parents’ house, on an oversized couch in the corner of my room that served as a reading nook Though I’d read the last lines, I couldn’t close the book I wanted to stay in Garcia’s world a little longer I wanted to keep spending time with the characters, and even the next day, and the next after that, I found myself missing them, hung over from the book's language and imagery.The next day, during my fiction class at the University of Miami, I told my professor that I’d be switching my concentration from poetry to fiction She was thrilled, and when she asked why, I said, “I just finished reading a book that I didn’t want to end I didn’t want to let go of the characters and the world I want to do that someday.”She highfived me That's how I began writing fiction.