Friday, August 29, 2008

Waiting for Snow in Havana

Our local library book club chose Carlos Eire's memoir, Waiting for Snow in Havana, to read and discuss in September.

This book of Mr. Eire's childhood memories of growing up in Batista-era Cuba, living through the "Agrarian Revolution," and experiencing the first few years of Castro's disastrous regime was an unexpected pleasure to read. His descriptions of Havana in the 195o's and his life with his odd family (his father believed that he was a reincarnation of Louis XVI) are entertaining, and at times beautiful. But he also honestly describes the ugliness and the lies and the terror of Castro and his people.

When he was 11, his mother flew Carlos and his brother to Miami. She was not able to join them until three years later. By that time, Carlos and Tony had seen their lives radically changed. They went from being privileged sons of a well-to-do judge to being taunted and jeered at as "spics" living in poverty and shunted from place to place. When their mother arrived they were 14 and 16 and from that point on they worked to support her. Their father decided to remain in Cuba with his massive collection of artwork and expensive artifacts. Carlos never saw him again.

The book was sometimes idyllic and sometimes sad, but it was one I'm recommending my children all read - so I bought a second copy.



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