Learning to Die in Miami: Confessions of a Refugee Boy

Learning to Die in Miami: Confessions of a Refugee Boy

4.0 16
by Carlos Eire
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Carlos Eire's story of a boyhood uprooted by the Cuban Revolution quickly lures us in, as eleven-year-old Carlos and his older brother Tony touch down in the sun-dappled Miami of 1962-a place of daunting abundance where his old Cuban self must die to make way for a new, American self waiting to be born.In this enchanting new work, narrated in Eire's inimitable and

…  See more details below

Overview

Carlos Eire's story of a boyhood uprooted by the Cuban Revolution quickly lures us in, as eleven-year-old Carlos and his older brother Tony touch down in the sun-dappled Miami of 1962-a place of daunting abundance where his old Cuban self must die to make way for a new, American self waiting to be born.In this enchanting new work, narrated in Eire's inimitable and lyrical voice, young Carlos adjusts to life in his new country. He lives for a time in a Dickensian foster home, struggles to learn English, attends American schools, and confronts the age-old immigrant's plight: surrounded by the bounty of this rich land yet unable to partake. Carlos must learn to balance the divide between his past and present lives and find his way in this strange new world of gas stations, vending machines, and sprinkler systems.Every bit as poignant, bittersweet, and humorous as his first memoir, Learning to Die in Miami is a moving personal saga, an elegy for a lost childhood and a vanished country, and a celebration of the spirit of renewal that America represents.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Ligaya Mishan
In Learning to Die in Miami, [Eire] once more channels the voice of his younger self—chatty, cocky, hyperbolic, ardent—without imposing an adult's guile or sentimentality…Eire is a tremendously likable narrator, honest about the limitations of memory, always wearing his heart on his sleeve…those who remember the exuberant kid from Waiting for Snow in Havana—launching a lizard into outer space on the back of a firecracker, chasing after beautiful blue clouds of DDT—will be moved by the man he becomes.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
A stranger in a strange land, Eire (Waiting for Snow in Havana), one of 14,000 children airlifted out of Cuba in Operation Peter Pan in 1962, describes the classic American immigrant experience in Miami, Fla., with a mix of insightful observation, humor, and heartfelt emotion. With his older brother, Tony, the 11-year-old boy compares the Yankee environment, which he describes as "so advanced and so wealthy," to the oppressive "Castrolandia and its fascination with Soviet backwardness." Despite the absence of his biological parents and enduring uncaring foster homes, Eire conquers the English language, survives crass holiday consumerism, and excels at academia and the American dream. Easily one of the more impressive memoirs on the thorny issue of immigration, this book provides a winning formula for immigrants "finding themselves at the bottom of the heap and knowing that they will climb their way back to the top, no matter what." (Nov.)
From the Publisher
"Eire...describes the classic American immigrant experience...with a mix of insightful observation, humor, and heartfelt emotion." —Publishers Weekly Starred Review
Library Journal
Eire (T. Lawrason Riggs Professor of History & Religious Studies, Yale) takes readers on his personal journey, beginning in 1962 when he and his brother arrived in Florida as part of Operation Peter Pan—an evacuation of 14,000 Cuban children whose parents arranged for their relocation to the United States, away from Castro. Eire's prose engages us throughout as we learn of the challenges he faced as he assimilated to his new world. He often carries us back to Cuba, where his parents remained. He longed for his family traditions, even as the United States became his "real world"—a world lit up with color. The reader becomes a part of Eire's assimilation journey, which although at times provides humor, was more often simply difficult. Eire interlaces Spanish appropriately, thus illustrating how he still thinks in one language but speaks another. VERDICT Eire shows how strong and deep are the personal impacts of emigration, yet he met his challenges head-on and succeeded. Readers of memoir and immigrant stories will appreciate Eire's journey and celebrate his accomplishments.—Susan Montgomery, Rollins Coll. Lib., Winter Park, FL
Kirkus Reviews

In a follow-up to his 2003 National Book Award–winningWaiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy, Eire (History and Religious Studies/Yale Univ.) describes his early years of exile in the United States.

In 1962, at age 11, the author and his older brother, Tony, were among 14,000 children airlifted from Castro's Cuba to Florida. This vivid, affecting memoir of survival and coming of age traces Eire's experiences living in several places through 1965, when his mother finally came to the United States. In this period of "death and rebirth," the author tried to blot out memories of a repressive Castrolandia and thrilled to a Miami where everything was "so new, so free of ghosts, so wide open." While his brother was sent elsewhere, Eire was taken in by a kind Jewish family, learned English and Yiddish, and began calling himself Charles, hoping to fit in, even as he desperately missed his parents. His father remained and later died in Cuba. Within the year, the brothers were reunited in yet another Miami home, this one ruled by strict foster parents and overrun by mice and roaches. While Cuban exiles trained for war in nearby fields in the wake of the Bay of Pigs, Carlos felt "wholly and truly American," engaging in food fights and Halloween pranks. He also discovered a portal to a much larger world on the shelves of a local public library. Finally, in 1963, he and Tony happily joined the family of an uncle and aunt in the Midwest. There his experience of a "presence" on Holy Thursday helped him better understand the lessons of Thomas a Kempis's manual of devotion,The Imitation of Christ—a parting gift from his parents—and set him on a course to become a teacher and historian of religion.

An engrossing Cuban-American story that will leave readers wanting more.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400119516
Publisher:
Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date:
11/04/2010
Edition description:
Unabridged 10 CDs, 9 hrs
Product dimensions:
6.60(w) x 5.60(h) x 1.10(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Eire...describes the classic American immigrant experience...with a mix of insightful observation, humor, and heartfelt emotion." —-Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Meet the Author

Born in Havana in 1950, Carlos Eire left his homeland in 1962, one of fourteen thousand unaccompanied children airlifted out of Cuba by Operation Pedro Pan. After living in a series of foster homes in Florida and Illinois, he was reunited with his mother in Chicago in 1965. His father, who died in 1976, never left Cuba. After earning his Ph.D. at Yale University in 1979, Eire taught at St. John's University in Minnesota for two years and at the University of Virginia for fifteen. He is now the T. Lawrason Riggs Professor of History and Religious Studies at Yale University. He lives in Guilford, Connecticut, with his wife, Jane, and their three children. Robert Fass appeared opposite Jesse Eisenberg and Theodore Bikel in the hit off-Broadway production of The Gathering. As a narrator, he is equally at home in a wide variety of styles, genres, characters, and dialects. An AudioFile Earphones Award winner, he has also earned a prestigious Audie Award for his recording of Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic by Gordon S. Wood. He has given voice to modern and classic fiction writers alike, including Ray Bradbury, Joyce Carol Oates, Isaac Asimov, Jeffrey Deaver, and John Steinbeck, plus nonfiction works in history, health, and business. Robert is featured weekly on Reading for Life radio, broadcasting the New Yorker magazine to the visually impaired.

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Learning to Die in Miami: Confessions of a Refugee Boy 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
JOB_cacuba More than 1 year ago
I didn't want to like this book, I fought it feircely, but succumbed to the beautiful, emotional and almost poetic writing of a master writer at his craft! I dare anyone to start reading it ...just one page or even one paragraph and put it down! You won't be able to do it! I guarantee it you won't! We hear so much talk of immigrant's these days, mainly in derogatory terms. Well here is ONE book that will make you applaud the immigrant that is Carlos Eire! This is Carlos's second book without footnotes. His first one being his award winning book by the title of WAITING FOR SNOW IN HAVANA written in 2003. You see, Dr. Carlos Eire is a professor of History at Yale University. His other books are more academic in nature and wonderful in their own way, but nothing like these two works of art, which I recommend to you now. I won't tell you anymore... Discover it for yourself...then tell me how you laughed, cried , and got angry all in the span of a few pages. Express your delight and wonder at the magic of his written word for that is what it is -pure magic! And finally, get to know intimately the story of one of the 14,000+ exiled children of Cuban parents who preferred to send their offspring to a new country than have them parented and brainwashed by a depraved and sick dictator who still until today continues to hold captive generations of Cubans who have not been able to cast off the stranglehold he has on them and their island home.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MullyJS More than 1 year ago
Learning to Die in Miami is a memoir of Carlo Eire's rebirth in a new world without the guidance of those he trusts the most, his parents. He was one of tens of thousands of children exiled in America from Cuba, sent like doves into the air as a symbol of freedom from dictatorship and slavery. I'd read Waiting for Snow in Havana and loved it. Carlos had such a magical way of seeing the revolution. Miami is a different book but I think more enlightening. It's a book about a child who somehow never learned how to give up. Even when Fidel slams the door and turns the lock on freedom for all the parents separated from their children, Carlos finds hope and refuge where he can. It is a beautifully written book of courageous innocence.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
armadillo35 More than 1 year ago
This is a sequel to the first volume of the author's memoir of his childhood, Waiting for Snow in Havana. While not quite as absorbing as the earlier book, due to its picture of a society literally gone with the wind of revolution, it is just as well written. This is a fresh and fascinating take on the American immigrant experience.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Now, read "Unpardonable Crimes:The Legacy of Fidel Castro"