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Dreaming in Cuban Paperback – February 10, 1993


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 245 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (February 10, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345381432
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345381439
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Garcia's first novel is about Cuba, her native country, and three generations of del Pino women who are seeking spiritual homes for their passionate, often troubled souls. Celia del Pino and her descendants also share clairvoyant and visionary powers that somehow remain undiminished, despite the Cuban revolution and its profound effect upon their lives. This dichotomy suffuses their lives with a potent mixture of superstition, politics, and surrealistic charm that gives the novel an otherworldly atmosphere. Garcia juggles these opposing life forces like a skilled magician accustomed to tossing into the air fiery objects that would explode if they came into contact. Writing experimentally in a variety of forms, she combines narratives, love letters, and monologs to portray the del Pinos as they move back and forth through time. Garcia tells their story with an economy of words and a rich, tropical imagery, setting a brisk but comfortable pace. Highly recommended.
- Janet W. Reit, Univ. of Vermont Lib., Burlington
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

A patchwork of incident, memory, letters, dreams and visions provides glimpses of a Cuban family at home and in exile in the '70's and '80's, but Garcia's debut suffers from its fragmented style. From disparate times, places, and (mostly female) points-of- view, Garcia reveals the circumstances and inner lives of various members of the del Pino family. Widowed matriarch Celia--who loved and lost a Spaniard, then married and went crazy--still lives near Havana, fulfilled at last by her active participation in Communist activities and quasi-erotic loyalty to El L¡der, Fidel Castro. Daughter Felicia--who talks like a Garc¡a Lorca poem--suffers episodes of violent insanity and amnesia, then seeks healing through the African-derived religion Santer¡a. Meanwhile, Felicia's twin daughters repudiate her while her son Ivanito becomes a mama's boy. Celia's son Javier works in Czechoslovakia. Daughter Lourdes fled Cuba with her husband, opened the Yankee Doodle Bakery in Brooklyn, and thrives on American life, quickly embracing cold weather, capitalism, and prejudice. Her father, Jorge (Celia's husband), who died in New York following cancer treatment, continues to manifest himself to her. Lourdes's artistic daughter Pilar paints a scandalous punk Statue of Liberty and has psychic conversations with Celia. After a Santer¡a-inspired vision, Pilar convinces Lourdes to return to Cuba for a reunion. Garcia explores Cuban culture and illustrates the dislocations of a family, but the novel--told through interior visions rather than action--lacks sufficient freshness of insight to be consistently compelling. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Cristina García's latest novel is the darkly comic KING OF CUBA, a fictional account of Fidel Castro, an octogenarian Miami exile, and a rabble of other voices.

Her other novels include Dreaming in Cuban, The Agüero Sisters, Monkey Hunting, A Handbook to Luck, and The Lady Matador's Hotel. She has also written books for young readers, poetry, and edited anthologies.

Her work has been nominated for a National Book Award and translated into fourteen languages. She is the recipient of numerous awards and has taught literature and writing at universities nationwide.

Customer Reviews

Strong characterization is the author's strength as well as the way she weaves the stories of each of them together.
Linda Linguvic
Garcia also manages to make the reader struggle with the novels time periods and characters jumping back and forth, sometimes not really making sense.
Amazon Customer
This book was one of the best books I have ever read...I recommend it to everyone, and hopefully you can connect with it like I did!
KT

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
This gem of a first novel, written in 1992, by Christina Garcia is the story of Cuba as well as the story of a few unforgettable Cuban women. The words themselves have a lyrical quality as the the tale evolves through their different voices.
Set in the 1970's, Celia del Pino, in her 60s, is a loyal Cuban patriot, who lives by the sea. Her daughter, Lourdes, has fled to America and owns a bakery in Brooklyn. The other daughter, Felicia, still in Cuba, shows signs of mental unbalance and dabbles in Santeria. Her granddaughter, Pilar, a rebellious teenager, has been raised in America but feels a deep connection with her grandmother in Cuba.
There's a dreamlike quality to the book and a touch of the mystical as each character is deeply developed and the story evolves through their inner memories. Strong characterization is the author's strength as well as the way she weaves the stories of each of them together. They've all been effected by the revolution and it shapes the form of this book.
Not only did reading this book introduce me to its interesting characters, it also taught me more about the Cuban revolution than I ever learned from just reading the newspapers. And it piqued my interest in wanting to know more.
Recommended.
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51 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Wendy Kaplan on June 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
Here is a truly unforgettable book. I was entranced from the very first sentence: "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."
From that moment on, I was drawn as surely into this book as the tides in the sea that Celia is guarding. "Dreaming in Cuban" tells the story of the Cuban Revolution from the point of view of three generations of women: the above-mentioned Celia, the grandmother; her daughters, Felicia and Lourdes; and Lourdes' own daughter, Pilar. Each of the three older women, and perhaps Pilar, a 20-ish New York artist, is quite totally mad. Thus we see and hear and feel the revolution from the hallucinatory perceptions of Celia, who worships El Lider (Castro) with ferocity; Felicia, who is torn between old Cuba--its superstitions, its voodoo, its passion--and the modern Cuba, where she is sentenced to a work camp; and Lourdes, who has escaped to Brooklyn and proudly owns the Yankee Doodle Bakery.
There is violence, murder, passion, birth and death in this book, but all told in a sort of lyrical mist, so that the reader feels the torpid heat of the Cuban day, the gentle warmth of the sea, and the breezes that stir the palms. All is dreamlike, which makes the reality of modern Cuba almost impossible to grasp. As one of the main characters says toward the end of the book: "Cuba is a peculiar exile...an island-colony. We can reach it by a thirty-minute charter flight from Miami, yet never reach it at all."
And yet, after reading this incredible book, I feel for the first time that I have some understanding of that small island nation. Or maybe it is all a dream.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By "aralieclauds" on July 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have to read this book for school, which automatically sounds a warning bell in my head: boring. So, as I sat at work with boredom threatening to force me to abandon all sanity, I sighed and picked up the book. From the very first sentence, I was hooked. Perhaps it wasn't only the plot that kept my attention focused, but also the fabulous writing style of the author. I didn't just read about Cuba, I felt Cuba. I didn't just read about the characters, I understood them. I ached for them. I pitied Pilar, whose mother reads her diary and punishes the young teenager for her emerging sense of sexuality. I pitied the twins, who faced a father's abuse and a mother's dwindling sanity with their stubborn, resilient silence. Cuban and United States relationships fall into the background amidst a story that could show up anywhere. The caring, but somewhat troubled grandmother, her rebellious daughter who's raising her own hellion, her troubled daughter who's twin daughters and young son have seen too much of the world... There is a certain sadness that follows these people struggling to go through the motions of love and family, held together by the ties of mother to child, forced apart by misunderstanding and uncertainty.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 12, 1997
Format: Paperback
This finalist for the National Book Award tellsthe story of three generations of a Cuban family.Indelible images and vivid characters combine to create a dreamlike evocation of Cuban life. Celia del Pino is the matriarch of a family that spans from Havana to Brooklyn, New York. She is unswervingly patriotic in her support of Fidel Castro, while her daughter Lourdes in the United States has embraced her new life and its capitalism by opening a chain of bakeries. Celia's second daughter is ambivalent toward the revolution as she deals with abuse and mental illness. Mothers and daughters may disagree, but Celia's granddaughter forms an emotional bond with her faraway grandmother. Using fragmentary vignettes, Dreaming in Cuban is reminiscent of stories repeated down through the generations, and the reader feels a connection to this family. Try it if you liked How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez or The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields.
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