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 name drops 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 Garc a 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. 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. 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. 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 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 all encompassingly bleak This book does not capture the spirit of joie de vivre that most Cubans have a 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 scattered it 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 tedious reading 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 other even 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 Cuban American identity rang particularly true for me as a Cuban American 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 Cuban Americans, and will not re read it a third time Phew, two was enough. Set against the background of the Cuban Revolution, Cristina Garc a 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 Afro Cuban cult of Santeria, becomes a priestess and loses herself completely.Similarly to Edwidge Danticat s Breath, Eyes, Memory, Cristina Garc a 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 Cond s Victoire Edwidge Danticat s Breath, Eyes, Memory and Cristina Garc a 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 during my AIG Years I Remember a tale of a family during the Cuban Revolution a focus on the voices of women epic in scope, intimate in perspective wonderfully differentiated characters, you really get to understand them, all about them, well beyond the politics although the politics are central gorgeous prose warm and humanistic and full of love anger death life must read this one again.i originally read this so that i could have something literary to discuss with my very political roommate who worked at Global Exchange, an ardent feminist and a person who practically worshipped Cuba turns out she scorned fiction and was only into non fiction, so i ended up talking to myself about it again feh I am in awe of what Garcia can create with language This is one of the most inventive books I have ever read Unfortunately the structure was a little too inventive for me The back and forth between characters, points of view and timeframes caused me to lose track and lose momentum for the story She created so many bizarre characters and situations in glorious, precise detail that I wanted to spendtime with each of them but their vividness vanished when I turned the page to find another one waiting for me.But the color both literal and figurative There was an abundance of assaults, gruesome goat heads, a fantastic Ferris wheel accident, and for some reason, my favorite image was probably Jorge s electric brooms swinging round and round in the air.It sounds funny, but it wasn t There was a sadness to the story that special family kind of melancholy that comes from hopes and regrets and the never ending tragedies that tie us together Until I returned to Cuba, I never realized how many blues exist Blues of all kinds. 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 Mid S 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 I am reading this but feel 80% sure I ve read it before This is because I have either a.read it before or b it is so very similar to her other book the Aguero Sisters I will determine upon completion Upon completion I am still only 80% sure I ve read this before Perhaps I merely dreamed it.
After working for Time Magazine as a researcher, reporter, and Miami bureau chief, Garc a turned to writing fiction Her first novel, Dreaming in Cuban 1992 , received critical acclaim and was a finalist for the National Book Award She has since published her novels The Ag ero Sisters 1997 and Monkey Hunting 2003 , and has edited books of Cuban and other Latin American literature Her fourth novel, A Handbook t
- 245 pages
- Dreaming in Cuban
- Cristina García
- 05 February 2019 Cristina García