Dreaming in Cuban


Dreaming in Cuban
Cristina García
1992, Ballantine Books
272 pages

WELL-KNOWN in the Latino world, this was Cristina García’s first novel. It talks about the deep differences and ties between three generations of Cuban women in the Del Pino family, narrated through letters and monologues. Set in the 1970s-80s, Dreaming in Cuban explores two worlds and one culture divided physically and politically. Celia – the matriarch – lives in Castro’s Cuba, and through her blood her brood share the power of seeing the future. Felicia, her daughter, lives in Brooklyn and is hooked on Santería, convinced that someone has put a jinx on her. But she cannot see that the real curse on her has no supernatural causes and is closer than she imagines. There is another daughter who talks to her dead dad and also the youngest, and apparently most rebellious, who loves punk, but still yearns for the blue life of the Tropics. Despite the mystic and surreal tone of the book, the reader learns that the magical forces that move this family are much less important than the force of their political views. Written with deep sympathy for the characters, this book has a good deal of humour and nostalgia, reflecting García’s impression of her first visit to Cuba in 1984, after having been shipped off at the age of two by her family in the first wave of people fleeing the country after the Revolution. – GJ

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