Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy

Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban BoyI wanted to like this book I really did However, the author s attempt at writing did not agree with me His overly verbose descriptions of clouds, his constant pseudonym use for his parents, and his pompous attitude did not agree with me I am very disappointed as I am looking for a good book on the history of Cuba and this is the second book on the topic that just left me disappointed I recently discarded Telex from Cuba, a fictional book written about the same period in Cuba s history I will save my issues with that book for another review Eire s attempt in writing from the viewpoint of a ten year old seems rather forced It isn t until the second half of the memoir that Eire becomes a bitcomfortable with his ambitious writing style The story flowed much better By this point, he is better able to capture his naivete about Fidel s takeover Although I never really connected with the narrator, I find myself interested in the history of Cuba and the events surrounding the Communist takeover as well as the dashed hopes of so many Cubans who thought Fidel would be the savior of their country If anyone knows of a better book dealing with this topic, please let me know As the son of two Cuban Americans driven from their homeland by a tragic communist revolution, I thoroughly enjoyed this book In response to the constant pestering by my mother to read it, I finally picked up the novel, which was written by Carlos Eire, a man who not only has a great name but is also my mother s age.The writing style of this autobiographical novel is quite unique The chapters of Eire s book seem to jump non chronologically from one childhood instance in pre Castro Cuba to another and then at times to therecent past, his life in america after the revolucion rather, revoluTion, sorry Despite all this skipping around , as a reader I never felt lost.Now about the story This novel charmingly recounts the childhood experiences of a boy growing up in a Cuba before Castro, when a different tyrant, by the name of Fulgencio Batista, still held the reins in Cuba This is a world ever influenced by the neighboring United States, but still unique Uniquely tropical, uniquely sophisticated, uniquely Catholic, and uniquely mysterious The activities of Batista s secret police force, and his other intimidating abuses of power create a constant uneasy feeling in the novel, like a storm looming in the distance, you know it s coming but want to ignore it at the same time.True to all the stories I ve heard of the exile, Eire faithfully and unapologetically recounts the events of his departure from Cuba after the rise of Castro With the black and white television in his living room showing a constant line up of political prisoners being executed by firing squad, we see a twelve year old Eire struggling with the reality that he will have to leave his homeland, never knowing when he will return again, if ever.This novel, since it is actually written by a Cuban, impresses me with its account of the historical events Here in the U.S., the situation in Cuba is always clouded in some sort of mystery and the full story never seems to be divulged Some see the revolution as a deliverance from the corrupt Batista at the hands of Castro and the ever popular revolutionary Che Guevara to a free Cuba, a Cuba Libre As it has been known this is a lie.The truth is, Batista was a murdering criminal and a corrupt tyrant So is Fidel Castro Castro and his right hand man Che Guevara murdered thousands upon thousands of political prisoners without due process think about that next time you see a t shirt with Che Guevara s picture on it These men aren t heroes, heroes fight for Truth and justice, and for the good of all, but these men fought simply for power, money, and fame Eire captures these truths poignantly in this novel. In , At The Age Of Eleven, Carlos Eire Was One Of , Children Airlifted Out Of Cuba, His Parents Left Behind His Life Until Then Is The Subject Of Waiting For Snow In Havana, A Wry, Heartbreaking, Intoxicatingly Beautiful Memoir Of Growing Up In A Privileged Havana Household And Of Being Exiled From His Own Childhood By The Cuban RevolutionThat Childhood, Until His World Changes, Is As Joyous And Troubled As Any Other But With Exotic Differences Lizards Roam The House And Grounds Fights Aren T Waged With Snowballs But With Breadfruit The Rich Are Outlandishly Rich, Like The Eight Year Old Son Of A Sugar Baron Who Has A Real Miniature Race Car, Or The Neighbor With A Private Animal Garden, Complete With Tiger All This Is Bathed In Sunlight And Shades Of Turquoise And Tangerine The Island Of Cuba, Says One Of The Stern Monks At Carlos S School, Might Have Been The Original Paradise And It Is Tempting To BelieveHis Father Is A Municipal Judge And An Obsessive Collector Of Art And Antiques, Convinced That In A Past Life He Was Louis XVI And That His Wife Was Marie Antoinette His Mother Looks To The Future Conceived On A Transatlantic Liner Bound For Cuba From Spain, She Wants Her Children To Be Modern, Which Means Embracing All Things American His Older Brother Electrocutes Lizards Surrounded By Eccentrics, In A Home Crammed With Portraits Of Jesus That Speak To Him In Dreams And Nightmares, Carlos Searches For Secret Proofs Of The Existence Of GodThen, In January , President Batista Is Suddenly Gone, A Cigar Smoking Guerrilla Named Castro Has Taken His Place, And Christmas Is Canceled The Echo Of Firingsquads Is Everywhere At The Aquarium Of The Revolution, Sharks Multiply In A Swimming Pool And One By One, The Author S Schoolmates Begin To Disappear Spirited Away To The United States Carlos Will End Up There Himself, Alone, Never To See His Father AgainNarrated With The Urgency Of A Confession, Waiting For Snow In Havana Is Both An Exorcism And An Ode To A Paradise Lost More Than That, It Captures The Terrible Beauty Of Those Times In Our Lives When We Are Certain We Have Died And Then Are Somehow, Miraculously, Reborn This was one of the worst books I have read in quite some time I had hoped to learnabout the overthrow of Batista and the rise of Castro and the Revolution, but instead had to plow through the memories of an unlikable eight to twelve year old boy Eire s constant references to how privileged he was and how influenced he was by American pop culture grew very tiresome After the first several stories about the movies and comics he liked, the swimming clubs he frequented, the lizards he killed, the beautiful neighborhood he lived in and the servants at his disposal, I just wanted to say, okay, I get it, enough, tell me something interesting The writing was full of cliches and the book had absolutely no story line It was a disjointed mess I don t know how many times he used the phrase fast forward but it was way too many for me and all within about four chapters I would have tossed this book after about the first half, but was reading it for a book club, so I soldiered on Actually, the last chapter was the best, not only because I was nearing the end of the tedium, but because it felt like the most genuine and honest recollection he gave us Sadly, I think that Eire missed an opportunity to write a great book about his experiences as part of the Pedro Pan airlift of children from Cuba and the history of his homeland Unfortunately, this book missed the mark. Every student going into their sopho year at my son s high school must read this book over the summer I like keeping up with what my kids are reading, so I read it too I would like to hear why this book was chosen, and am curious what the students will be quizzed on, regarding this book, in the fall I have several opinions about this book First, it could have been interesting about the Cuban Revolution but every time the author came near some details or a complete story, the focus would take a turn But the author was also a child during this time period, so perhaps much should be forgiven for this Which brings me to my second point, there is NO linear structure to this book The childhood stories are blended with stories from when he moved escaped to the U.S which are mixed in with his personal philosophy, religious views and visions, nightmares, proofs of God, ramblings on hating philosopher Immanuel Kant, tochildhood stories where he and his friends were tormenting monkeys, lizards, the town drunk, playing with fireworks, etc.Ultimately, I feel sorry for the author He seems very scarred by the occurrences in this book, and who can blame him I hope writing this book exorcises some of these demons, brings him some peace and forgiveness, and helps him get past his post traumatic stress disorder.But I can t help but think this is a personal journey, not to be published, or minimally, not to be inflicted on high school students who don t have the perspective nor does the author to process this mighty life changing event.The good news is I can count this book for my Revolution read for the SL County summer challenge In 1962 Carlos Eire was one of 14,000 children airlifted out of Cuba exiled from his family at age 11 The Cuban revolution took away his family, his beloved country, his friends, and, most importantly, his childhood The memories of his Cuban life are an exorcisan and to tribute to a paradise lost the island of his youth The lizards, turquoise seas and sun drenched siestas are the heart of this memoir After Castro ousts Batista music sounds like gunfire, Christmas is illegal, and the wait to see who didn t comeback today is agonizing The book is so well written I felt as though I was right in the middle of the Eire family crying, laughing and suspicious of every chnge Carlos ends up a successful American which was always his mother s dream But the price is high in doing ao, he leaves his soul in the country he loves This is one of the best memoirs I have read I love memoirs and have read many, so my rating of this book is unconditional. My dad is a Cuban refugee and was part of the Pedro Pan lift He left Cuba with his older sister when he was 9 My grandfather was one of the chiefs of police in Havana and was imprisoned by the Communists His friends were all shot paredon paredon.I ve heard stories of Cuba before Castro, but precious few Carlos Eire s memoir of Cuba before his emigration to the states filled in the world for me in a way that I had never understood it I found myself asking my dad questions about rock fights and firecrackers after reading chapters of the book and hearing his own personal stores, seeing scars from stories very similar to those in the book.Beyond the personal connection, the book s language is poetic I ve never read anything quite like it I loved the writing, the imagery, the dreaming I loved the colors and the textures The act of reading was rich, and I did so slowly.A masterful book Highly recommended. If you don t know what is CARGOISM, please consult a dictionary I did, and if I am not remember or understand it incorrectly, it means a passion for material largess dropping down from the sky by US airplanes.The recipients of the goods were the barbarians of some remote island, who thought the cargoes were from some gods, not human.Year after year , they were waiting forsimilar goods from the sky, and since they have never seen any , they have been performing some kind of ritual dance to plead the gods to send them someof the largess I can understand this behavior from these barbarians, but it make me sick to witness this cheap desire in people who are not only awash in material possession, but also from his or her intelligence, has acquired a higher level of formal education Examples are the author of this book and one of his contemporary, also a college professor, Mirta OJITO FINDING MANANA, to which I also reviewed They made me sick, really sick.Now I don t have any problem with people who spend all his daytime ,year in and year out to makeandmoney.But I detest the pseudo intelligentsia , save his or her GENUINE UNIVERSITY DEGREE, who CLUMSILY cover his or her base animal instinctive lust for good food, good drink,nice car, exquisite house with swimming pool and good looking bed partner with lots of bogus political and fake philosophical rambling discourses and poorly disguised lie and dishonesty as in the case of FROF EIRE and OJITO.Before I go into details, let me briefly list here all his lies HE lied about his motive to immigrate to the US , actually he was sent to the US at a tender age of 11 together with his brother ,so actually he lied about his parents motive.I will prove their motive was to stuff their sons pockets with a lot of greenbacks, NOT BECAUSE THEY HATE FIDEL AND HIS DICTATORSHIP Even though they were leading a pampered lives with the wealth of their father , a self confessed with a rather straight face , corrupt high ranking government official, their father with boundless greed, wantedandfor their offspring, to the extend to send them off to another country without any possibility of ever to reunite with them.It is so pathetic, his lies.If he just simply recount the story of his being sent , together with thousands of other Cuban children , to the US to satisfy the desire formaterial gain of their parents, similar to the above mentioned cargo worship barbarians, then it is acceptable , if not admirable.However, Eire , as a college prof., similar to Ojito, was too proud to admit this cheap weakness.If everyone flee their countries when there were so much hardship, so much killing and robbing by BIG BAD MONSTERS, how can the world be a better place for its following generation If Gandhi fled India while it was mauled by that disgusting royal family, and Ho chi Minh did likewise while Viet Nam was raped by that disgusting French Empire and equally disgusting American Empire,what will happen to the bloodied people of these countries These two authors, have tried to cloak it withrespectable BUT FALSE, BOGUS nice looking, nice sounding outer layer, but rather weak political and social disagreement with Fidel s MY WAY Therefore, he even lied in the very title of his memoir.It should have been entitled WAITING FOR CARGO IN HAVANA instead of WAITING FOR SNOW IN HAVANA Snow my foot What dishonesty He lied about Fidel and Che and their struggle to protect fiercely the dignity of not only their own, but for all Cubans.Dignity of a free people, free and independent country , and their country sacred sovereignty in face of the big , bad bully next door trying very hard in many years to rob the tiny Cuban nation of their ancestral land, to turn it into its nth state, not unlike the whole sale massacre of the American Indian to rob almost all of their ancestral territory.This fact is known by everybody except Eire and Ojito Everybody knew also numerous failed , very dirty attempts on Fidel s life by the evil US governments including the most stupid one about exploding cigar.But lying is the least of his character defects.The most amazing and vomit inducing act of his was the shameless self grandiosity.Please read it , from the very page of his memoir I warrant your throwing up all of your stomach content This idiot, save his degree from a prestigious university, has the steel nerve and one inch thick skin on his.presumably handsome.face to compare himself to a Russian Astronaut, Gagarin I am not kidding , read it for yourself.After praising the astronaut with his daring , who he said had balls as big as a coconut and as hard quite acceptable he boasted he also possessed balls in order to undertake his adventure from the hell hole Cuba to his paradise the US of A Excuse me, what have you just uttered , prof of STUPIDITY AND SELF GRANDIOSITY Balls you said Eh, balls Carl, let me tell you, you shameless idiot.YOUR BALL IS ABOUT THE SIZE OF a GRAIN OF mongo bean regardless how many babies you fathered , AND AS SOFT AS WET NOODLE.You and all the Cuban criminals in Florida.This is another lie from Prof Eire.He has never admitted among the Cuban immigrants are a large number of thieves, murderers , robbers and other hardcore criminals released from Cuban prisons.They have commit many criminal acts, including blowing up a bank in Florida Eire has swear his admirable uncle didn t participate in this bombing.Sure Carl, we believe you A bad joke made by the much hated Extreme Leader You see, if you and your gang members had balls, YOU would have STAYed or came back not under the skirt of UNCLE SAM AND kicked ASSESS OF THE BLOKES YOU HATEd , JUST LIKE FIDEL.Didn t you see, Fidel stayed and kicked assess of that thief , that SOB Batista and his cohorts , not ran away and begged some foreigners to do it for you like your gang did.Remember BAY OF PIGS My apology to Micheal Moore from stealing this core idea from his DOWNSIZE THIS for which I also have written a review More lies from this scumbag.He has conveniently forgot to mention how bad,how dirty was Batista.Forinfo about this SOB, the readers are invited to read my book review of FINDING MA NANA by one of Eire s very likely best Cuban friend contemporaries , also a University Prof., MIRTA OJITO.Professor Carl, The most shameful thing was, when your equally stupid masters also possessed tiny soft balls failed miserably to execute their hare brain scheme in the disastrous invasion at the BAY OF PIGS , you behaved just like a crybaby who was denied mom s tits , cried your head off.What pity I really feel sorry for you and your gang of cowards worse, not only cowardice, they were without any self respect and shame, the cargo cult sorts When he blamed the failure of the BAY OF PIGS fiasco to that damn Kennedy brothers we could hear in the back ground his sobs We almost feel sorry for the idiot.HEY philosopher Carl, REVOLUTION IS JUST LIKE DYING or MAKING LOVE , YOU NEED TO DO IT YOURSELF the same way what you and your childhood friends did with the innocent and lovely looking for whom you detested tiny lizards ,NO BODY CAN DO IT FOR YOU as much as nobody can hump your wife for you, you need to do it by yourself However, all of my above accusations is tame if we compare with this AMAZINGLY WELL HIDDEN TRUTH ,the truth he hoped we wouldn t notice His father, the late KING OF FRANCE and hence the author of the memoir himself ARE DIRECT DESCENDANTS OF THE FEARSOME , THIEVING, BLOOD THIRSTY , GOLD MAD , BIBLE THUMBING gang of thugs from the Spanish Empire of the yesteryear ,who centuries ago, went on a robbing and killing rampage through out much of the world, and of course the land now known as Cuba.And, amazing enough, he, the descendant of that disgusting murderers and robbers , the blood suckers and TORMENTORS OF THE CUBAN NATIVES, has the nerve to blame all his fake , imaginative current miseries to his ancestor s slaves , the TORMENTED Cuban.Fidel was just one among others There is no exclusion the possibility that ancestor female members of Fidel were not raped by their disgusting Spanish conquerors.However the similarity between Fidel and Eire ends here Talk about sweet justice.Suddenly everything is as clear as daylight under blazing sun No wonder Eire and his corrupt judge daddy were so sore about the EXTREME LEADER and his revolution that has eliminated a lot of their privileges..Of course, they missed the old indulgences , one of them was very good tasting morsels they have gorged themselves during the golden years under the reign of that dog , EMPEROR BAUTISTA among other indulgences for example, surfing his nice wheel through corrosive ocean water, with the author beside If we are lazy, we will easily fall for this gosh writer who are such clever liar,especially when armed with the respectability of a university degree from a P R E S T I G I O U S big ass institution.Another curious fact is the PROFESSOR s use of the same sugar Christianity to coat a very bitter pill neo COLONIALISM made in USA to make it easier for the Cuban to swallow, NOT AT ALL UNLIKE the clever tactic of his ancestor the Spaniard, specifically that BIG HONCHO ,THE DISGUSTING blood sucker, King Phillip had used to soften the resistance of the native people against the invading Spanish criminals centuries ago.It is so easy to understand, NOT SURPRISING AT ALL the fact the PROFESSOR was blabbing about THE BIG BOOK he being specialized in RELIGION STUDY IN almost every page of this collection of disgusting lies and self serving white wash.What has he trying to washed away BLOOD my friends.Blood of countless natives in many COUNTRIES ,blood that soaked the boots of the Spanish explorers.Funny, he thought he can get away with his cry wolf about Cuban traitors who were required to shed some of their dirty blood by the extreme leader.He kept repeating about this , without mentioning about how much blood his ancestor and most recently, the gangster Bautista had sucked from the Cuban people.The dishonesty of THE PROFESSOR is another amazing , albeit too childish regarding THE SWIMMING POOL CHOCK FULL OF CROCODILES.I don t really know why has he kept mentioning about this pool and these croc s.But lurking underneath of this is his dishonesty,perhaps he really wanted to accuse Fidel of keeping this pool of crocodiles to execute his enemies, but facing with the lack of evidence, he has tried to lure the readers into some vague notion of barbaric act from his most hated Fidel Unworthy act of a person of his stature.As a professor of religion studies among others, HE ACTED AS THOUGHT HE WAS THE MOST PIOUS.He made many claims about his vision of Jesus Christ , who has made extra trouble to appear just for THE PROFESSOR S benefit.Well, let me ask you Carl.Do you really possess any shame, even very little Throughout your life, from a very young boy until now, you have been in constant lust after materialistic stuffs , isn t it so From beautiful actresses to comfy houses with swimming pool for Heaven sake , from COKE to French fries that gave you a peek of Heaven itself ,You have complained bitterly about the shortage of this food and that food under the reign of that big bad Fidel.I have searched through every pages of your memoir.Not one shed , however tiny of any noble thinking Not to mention you killed all lizards in your neighbor, loved to hear loud noise firecrackers, even bombs the louder the better ,loved to throw BIG ROCKs AT your childhood friends while your much admired daddy looked on.and manydisgusting acts, too numerous to be included here.Pious my foot But to be fair, almost all the high priests of today are just like him, almost all have the similar delusion about how pious they are.This is the reason of the saying WHEN I DIED, I PREFER HELL.At least one will not have to see the like of THE PROFESSOR and or his high priest buddies.That alone is HEAVEN by itself , don t you think MORE LATER This is the true story of Carlos Eire, professor of History and Religious Studies at Yale University Paraphrase of book I have a great story to tell Why, you ask Is it because it deals with the revolution in Cuba Is it because it is a memoir Is it because I am a child narrator No, no not at all It s because it is about.me Had this been about some figure I actually knew something about, or had at least heard of, I may have found all the rambling and anecdotes a little interesting As it was, it was like sitting down in a hospital waiting room next to an eight year old boy, a stranger who decides to relate to you all the funny, little incidents about his life as a kid For him, perhaps his family, even his friends, this might be very interesting and entertaining For me, not at all.Had he have told the story of what happened when Fidel Castro and his rebels ousted Batista from his perspective as an eight year old boy in Cuba then it may have been a compelling story.But to read about a spoilt, little rich boy who lived with his weird family in Cuba in the 1950s, whose father believed himself to be the reincarnation of Louis XVI and his mother, Marie Antoinette and a brother who electrocuted lizards for fun.nope I just didn t care.I was bored.I was waiting for something.anything to happen Waiting for something to happen in this book, was like, well Waiting for Snow in Havana.Thanks again, Kinga for providing me with another book to add to my growing list of literature.Do you deliberately pick out the weirdest people and stories for me Full disclosure The author of this book is a family friend, and although I wouldn t say that I know him well, I have met him a few times.Some people have fascinating stories to tell Some people are able to write well A select few people have both interesting stories, and a flair for authoring Carlos Eire is one of those people.On its surface, this is a very simple book It s about a story that most people are at least moderately familiar with Fidel Castro leads a successful rebellion against Batista in Cuba, and thousands of Cuban refugees flee the country in order to establish new lives in the US.The part that sets this book apart is the excellent memories and descriptions of being a young boy in Batista s Cuba All the typical stuff of boyhood is there, including mischief and complex relationships with family and school, but there s also a strong undercurrent of innocence lost, which parallels nicely with the fall of Cuba All tied up in all of this is the impact of Eire s Catholic heritage, lurking as a crucifix in every corner of his mind.Eire doesn t make an effort to capture the fighting of the revolution, or the immigrant experience he doesn t have to Instead, he focuses on his personal story A very fresh book, I ve read nothing like it.

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  • Paperback
  • 400 pages
  • Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy
  • Carlos Eire
  • English
  • 24 September 2018

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