Dreaming in Cuban is written in a dreamy, poetic prose that brings the novel’s unruly cast of characters into brilliant focus. Opening on the Cuban coast in 1972, the book’s timeline skips back and forth across the decades, detailing the longstanding tensions in the Del Pino family. Its matriarch, Celia, is a staunch supporter of the communist regime, dedicating her free time and remaining strength to volunteer brigades and coastal patrols.
Her children are Lourdes, a bakery owner in Brooklyn who despises the leader her mother reveres; Felicia, who struggles with mental illness and has a particular fascination with santería; and Javier, whose life abroad is a mystery to his family. Woven from multiple narrations and years of Celia’s letters, Dreaming in Cuban is a complex, fascinating look at a family torn apart by politics and painful secrets.
“A cool wind stirs Celia from her dream. She stretches her legs but she cannot touch the sandy bottom. Her arms are heavy, sodden as porous wood after a storm. She has lost her shoes. A sudden wave engulfs her, and for a moment Celia is tempted to relax and drop. Instead, she swims clumsily, steadily toward shore, sunk low like an overladen boat. Celia concentrates on the palms tossing their headdresses in the sky. Their messages jump from tree to three with stolen electricity. No one but me, she thinks, is guarding the coast tonight.”
Cristina García is a professor and novelist. Her books include Dreaming in Cuban, King of Cuba, Monkey Hunting, and The Lady Matador’s Hotel. She has also edited two anthologies on Cuban and Latino literature. Born in Havana, she now lives in the San Francisco area.
Length: 245 pages
Set in: Havana, Cuba and Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
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