Customer Reviews for

Dreaming in Cuban

Average Rating 4
( 45 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 45 Customer Reviews
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2007

    Magical and exotic!

    I read this book for the first time at the age of 15. Since, I have read it over and over again....this recount of generations of immigrant women is not what you expect. The story turns into a magical and at times erotic recount of 3 generations of women. It is enchanting and mysterious and at times causes one to ignore what we know to be true about reality...

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2007

    A reviewer

    I noticed most reviews are from possibly Cuban American readers or students of Latin American literature classes. I found this book after my first cruise which was to the Caribbean. I decided to read translations of Caribbean authors. This is a wonderful book. I agree particularly with the reviewer who mentions how fantasy is a coping mechanism for these characters. This book is bizarre because so much of the time it is the constantly ticking internal dialogues of people. This book increased immensely my understanding of the Cuban American plight and opened up the closed world of those left behind.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2006

    Not what I expected. I liked it!

    With Castro so much in the news lately, it's no wonder this book has taken off--again! And don't think for a minute that it's just a 'chick' book---it's not. It's funny, warm, intelligent, and a great way to spend some time with a writer from whom I hope we'll hear more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2003

    what a book

    i loved this book so much it tells about women and what they go through it's like a book recommended for all the women on earth

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2003

    Wow!

    I bought this book with out knowing anything about it, and by the time I finished it, I was captivated by the author's writing skill! This is the type of book you just can't put down! I have told all of my friends about it, and I have re-read it about four times. This book was great from start to finish, the characters were totally believable. I felt as if the author could have been spying on my family when she wrote this. I can't give this book enough praise, just go out and read it already!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 15, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia This is a novel that tells

    Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia

    This is a novel that tells the story of three generations of Cubans. Celia Almeida the matriarch who fell in love with a married Spanish lawyer (Gustavo Sierra de Armas) but had to settle for Jorge del Pino. Because of this, Jorge punishes her by leaving her alone while on business as a traveling salesman and distancing her children from her.

    Celia and Jorge have three children:

    Lourdes marries a rich man from the Cuba's high society, Rufino Puente and chooses to leave Cuba for Brooklyn where she opens the Yankee Doodle Bakery in Brooklyn, and thrives on American life, quickly embracing cold weather, capitalism, and prejudice. Her husband feels impotent because he was a rancher and liked to work outdoor Lourdes keeps a strong tie to her father - who died in Brooklyn from stomach cancer - and is frequented by his spirit. Jorge del Pino spirit assesses Lourdes on all the important decisions she makes.

    Felicia marries the good for nothing Hugo Villaverde, who gives her syphilis with her second pregnancy and is kicked out by Jorge del Pino from the family. Felicia decides to stay in Cuba and has an affinity for santeria. She killed the last of her three husbands and tried to burn the first one alive. She also burnt Graciela Moreira's hair because she though she was responsible for the death of her second husband: Ernesto Brito.

    Javier escapes to Czechoslovakia where he becomes a professor at the Prague University. He marries Irina Novotny with whom he fathers a girl, Irinita. Irina leaves him for another intellectual so he returns to Cuba in defeat.

    The third generation of protagonists are made up of their children:

    Pilar Puente - the most important of these, is Lourdes and Rufino's daughter. She's a rebel with a cause. While her mother is a right wing Cuban exile who hates anything that has to do with Castro, Pilar has a strong connection with her grandmother Celia. Celia speaks to her for most of her early life. Pilar is an artist, a free spirit and longs to go back and stay in Cuba. She remembers being torn away from her grandmother's arms when Lourdes decided to leave for the US. Feels she belongs there.

    Luz and Milagro Villaverde - Felicia's daughters - hate her mother. They side with their father and try in vain to rescue their brother Ivanito from her crazy mother who ends up trying to burn him alive.

    Ivanito is very close to her mother and even though he excels in Russian, he's trying to learn English. He goes to his grandmother's house in Santa Teresa del Mar to try to listen to American radio. He's painted like a mama's boy and the writer is ambiguous about his relationship with his Russian teacher, Sergei Mikoyan, who has to leave Cuba because of improprieties with his students.

    The techniques used by the writer are interesting. The book takes place from 1972 to 1980. The book is narrated from the third person point of view, but it switches to the first person point of view every time Pilar does the storytelling. Perhaps the writer was identifying with Pilar. I thought it was nice until Ivanito and Herminia Delgado - Felicia's closest friend - also narrate from the first person point of view. I did not understand this. The writer uses letters sent from Celia to Gustavo to fill in the gaps of the story. The most poetic words are in the letters. "I was born to live in an island" writes Celia to Gustavo. "I'm grateful that the tides rearrange the borders. At least I have the illusion of change, of possibility. To be locked within boundaries plotted by priests and politicians would be the only thing more intolerable." Celia complains of a loneliness "borne of the inability to share her joy."

    The book is an interesting study of the Cuban dynamics touching on the topics of Santeria, racism, and the Cuban revolution. The writer takes steps to present all the different points of views: Cubans in Cuba who love the revolution, Cubans in Cuba who need to be "reprogrammed" because they oppose the revolution. The poverty and decay in Cuba. It also shows the Cubans in the US - The ones who missed Cuba, like Pilar, and the ones who are radical against Castro. Lourdes has meetings on her bakery and her friends boast that they called a bomb threat to the Lincoln Center when Alicia Alonso came to perform with the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, because Ms. Alonso was a Castro supporter.

    I think the santeria and spiritualism is used as a way to stay in touch. Generations communicate in the afterlife - Jorge and Lourdes - and through space - Celia and Pilar. Ms. Garcia states that santeria is an unacknowledged and under appreciated aspect of what it means to be Cuban.

    The racism is showcased in the relationship between Herminia and Felicia. Herminia, being of African descent, is aware that Felicia is the only person who doesn't see color. She also speaks of the Little War of 1912 when many of her relatives were killed for being black.

    The book's ending is ambiguous. I think it's because Ms. Garcia is still trying to figure out where she belongs. The book also lacks sufficient freshness of insight to be consistently compelling. It left me with a sense that the questions asked were never answered.

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  • Posted July 26, 2014

    Ugh!

    In one word: awful.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2014

    Absolutely loved this book!

    The author does a stellar job with her use of descriptive words and bringing you into the story. Her beautiful writing has a musical, colorful feel....lot of blue. If you enjoy family generational literature, historical fiction, women's literature, then you must read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2013

    very disappointing book. again we see the same theme of Cuba an

    very disappointing book. again we see the same theme of Cuba and Castro and exile. a story told sooooo many times already that I have lost interest in reading anything else by a Cuban Author. they seem to just want to write about the same subject. please, there is soooo much history and wonderful tales to be told about Cuba and Cubans. break away from the same theme of Castro!!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2013

    Interesting novel

    I read this book nearly two years ago, but I still think of it from time to time. It focuses on a Cuban family that has been divided (one half has moved to America while the other remains in Cuba). The viewpoint of several different characters is shown as they take over a chapter or two. It offers an interesting philosophy and story, and I would recommend this novel to any older teen or young adult.

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  • Posted May 18, 2011

    a must read

    this book transports the reader to Cuba and all of its wonders of yesteryear. it is beautifully written. i highly recomend reading it and a book by Dede Mirabal re: las hermanas mirabal 'vivas en su jardin'

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  • Posted February 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting Story, but a cumbersome read.

    I found Dreaming in Cuban to be a cumbersome effort to read. Almost from the start I was beginning to lose track of the characters and I was beginning to think that I would need a score card to keep track of who was who. In this novel the author did create interesting scenes that centers around the Cuban family, and culture but there were so many loose ends when I finished reading the book that the overall story just didn't connect with me. It's not a terrible read, maybe just an entertaining story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2007

    sick but enhancing

    This novel displays a love for writing but a lack of understanding of the priniciple of captivation. Caveats apply to the naive, as sickening images are juxtaposized to beautiful words. Not for all yet all for some.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2003

    Interesting

    I got interested in this book because in my history class we were learnig about Fidel's Cuba. This book has showed me how people from Cuba feel about Cuba and what they do in Cuba.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2003

    A wonderful book to read!

    I just finished this book for a multicultural women's literature class and I have to say it is now one of my favorites. The way that Garcia weaves her story is simply amazing. The different relationships in this novel are great, you really feel like you are a part of the del Pino family while reading. Garcia makes you really feel the characters you are reading about. I couldn't put this book down, I love it and recommend it to everyone!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2002

    Excellent Novel

    This novel by Julia Garcia is great because it reveals real life situations and how a Dominican family adapts to life in the United States of America after basically being raised in their homeland. The story mostly consists of four sisters, (Carla, Sandi, Yolanda, and Fifi) and their parents Carlos and Laura. The adjustment for the family was relatively harsh, due to the fact that they came from having everything in their homeland to basically trying to survive in this new environment they now tried to call their new home. The novel is very interesting since it is not narrated in chronological order so it makes the reader further analyze the story and put it together after finishing the book. Coming from a Hispanic family and being able to relate to these kinds of situations makes the story more interesting in my eyes. The novel is excellent and is a great paperback for any reader¿s collection.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2002

    Blood of many chickens

    In Julia Alvarez's 'Dreaming in Cuban' she gives a fictional account of a generation full of solace and heartbreak among social and political lines. Each character encounters some form of self-observation as each member of the Del Pino family learns to understand and deal with each other miles away from each other before any bloodshed is made. Unfortunately the story's flashbacks and difficult time frame loses the reader's interest. The design of each character's leaves me for one almost uninterested and the focal point of religion, as a backdrop is unrealistic and at times annoying. I for one had problems feeling anything for any of the characters especially Lourdes and Celia so called 'grudge' based on political ideology a socialist and a exile butting heads is enough to make you cringe. Pilar is the only character worth reading as she pushes her mother's button and questions everything that Lourdes has given her enough to make the old witch go nuts from communist books to running away to see her forgotten grandmother. No this is what family is really like.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2002

    Dreaming in Cuban

    I recommend this book because, is an excellent story full of vivid imagery, which delves into complicated family dynamics and cultural identity. ¿Dreaming in Cuban¿ tells the story of the Cuban Revolution from the point of view of three generations of women. In this book there is violence, murder, passion, birth and death, but all told in a sort of lyrical and mystical way. I really enjoyed reading this book and I think it is a good novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2002

    FOUR WOMEN, ONE 'LIDER'

    Three generations and four women dominate this story of a bewitched family. The setting for Cristina Garcia's first novel is Cuba and New York, where she was born and raised. Celia del Pino is the protagonist, a loyal follower of 'El Lider'. Thru her love letters to an old Spanish lover we find out much about the family. Her oldest daughter, Lourdes, is a fervent anti-communist, who immigrated to Brooklyn and realized the American dream of owning her own business. She is a traumatized rape victim, who feels her ony ally is her father. Thru magical realism she spends several years in conversation with him after he died. Only after he fades away can she finally pay a visit to her aging and dying mother in Cuba. Her daughter, Pilar, was born in Cuba the very year Castro took over. Raised in Brooklyn, punk artist and musician, yet longs for Cuba and her grandmother, who she maintains in psychic contact with. Felicia, the youngest daughter, remained in Cuba, even though she is apolitical. She suffers from bouts of insanity, is divorced, and has three dysfunctional children. Felicia's interest in Santeria, a Voodoo-type religion, gives us the opportuity to learn about it in a colorful and vivid fashion. The author uses an interesting twist of words that keep the reader amused, though melancholic and confused at times. The characterization is superb. Each character demands your attention and their complex relationship makes for good reading

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2002

    Real Fiction

    Dreaming in Cuban is the story of a Cuban family that is divided by politics, religion, ideals, and a beautiful sea. Writer Cristina Garcia transmits the feelings of three generations of Cuban women, First of all by Celia whose consuming passion is for El Lider ¿Fidel.¿ Lourdes; she is an immigrant living in New York City, and a proud proprietor of the Yankee Doodle Bakery. Felicia; She can not stay away from man and black magic and Pilar; she is the youngest generation of these three women, she is in a never ending fight with her mother. These character are the most important ones in the story, each of them represent a different prospective of life. The novel is set between Cuba and New York. The character of Celia is a very important one, in the sense of integrity for her believes and the way she hopes for a better tomorrow. Pilar is the future. She wants to go back to her land and also see her Grandmother ¿Celia¿ before she forgets both of them. I recommend reading the book. It will help you understand the power of love.

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