Customer Reviews for

Dancing to ''Almendra''

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  • Posted December 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Disappointing

    I read the descriptions and thought I would really like the book. There certainly were some very colorful characters and the atmosphere of pre-Fidel Castro era was evident. However, the plot left a lot to be desired. I was not impressed with the writing or the story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2007

    All the romance of 1950's Havana

    We're suckers for novels that are set in Cuba during the 'golden years.' Havana in the 1950s was an exciting time and in her new book, 'Dancing to Almendra,' Mayra Montero plunges us into Havana during the final weeks of Batista. The story begins with two deaths: the murder of mafia chieftain Umberto Anastasia and a hippopotamus at the Havana Zoo. A young entertainment reporter, Joaquín Porrata, gets assigned to the big story --the killing of the hippo.Porrata, who is definitely looking to move up in the journalism world, is a little under whelmed by his assignment -- until a zoo employee tells him about a strange link between the two killings. The paper he works for refuses to publish his story, and Porrata soon finds himself working for a rival newspaper. What follows is a journey of discovery, from Havana to upstate New York and back again. Along the way, Porrata befriends a zoo keeper with a strange obsession for George Raft, Yolanda, a one-armed circus performer and several shady mafia characters. What is unique about this book is the counter story: Yolanda tells her own story in frequent interludes. On one side -- the present -- we have the plot driven and action packed narrative of Porrata. On the other, we have the slow meandering stream of Yolanda's life story, mostly remembrances of her past. Reading this book involves shifting from plainly written prose to stream-of-conscious poetry, but Montero manages to pull it off with aplomb. The original Spanish text has been lovingly translated by Edith Grossman. If you speak and read Spanish, you might want to tackle the original. However, for English readers this novel is an engaging read. Yes, you won't want to put it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2009

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