Miami y Mis Mil Muertes: Confesiones de un cubanito desterrado

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Overview

En su libro de memorias Nieve en La Habana, el cual ganó el Premio Nacional del Libro en 2003, Carlos Eire narra su niñez en Cuba en la época del triunfo de la revolución y la llegada al poder de Fidel Castro. Esa historia termina en 1962, en el avión que lleva a Carlos y a su hermano desde La Habana a Miami para comenzar una nueva vida, como sucedió a miles de niños cubanos. Pasarían años antes de que Carlos volviera a ver a su madre. Y nunca más volvería a ver a su padre, por ...

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Miami y Mis Mil Muertes: Confesiones de un cubanito desterrado

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Overview

En su libro de memorias Nieve en La Habana, el cual ganó el Premio Nacional del Libro en 2003, Carlos Eire narra su niñez en Cuba en la época del triunfo de la revolución y la llegada al poder de Fidel Castro. Esa historia termina en 1962, en el avión que lleva a Carlos y a su hermano desde La Habana a Miami para comenzar una nueva vida, como sucedió a miles de niños cubanos. Pasarían años antes de que Carlos volviera a ver a su madre. Y nunca más volvería a ver a su padre, por quien sentía una verdadera devoción.

Miami y Mis Mil Muertes sigue el cuento en el momento en que aquel avión aterriza y Carlos comienza una nueva vida impulsado por sus miedos y esperanzas. Enseguida se da cuenta de que para llegar a ser americano tendrá que “morir” el Carlos cubano que hasta ahora ha sido. Se enfrenta al eterno dilema del inmigrante que debe aprender inglés, ir a una escuela americana y descifrar un futuro incierto: está en el país de las oportunidades, pero aún no es capaz de aprovecharlas. A pesar de la dura realidad de los hogares adoptivos donde ha de vivir, el muchacho se abre paso, dejando atrás cualquier vestigio de su vida pasada hasta el punto de cambiar su nombre y convertirse en Charles. Miami y Mis Mil Muertes es un exorcismo y una oda a esa experiencia, es un homenaje a la renovación, a los momentos de la vida en que tenemos la certeza de haber muerto y, de alguna manera milagrosa, haber vuelto a nacer.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439191729
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 11/2/2010
  • Language: Spanish
  • Edition description: Spanish-language Edition
  • Pages: 333
  • Sales rank: 1,376,189
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Carlos Eire

Carlos Eire was born in Havana in 1950 and 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, he was reunited with his mother in Chicago in 1965. Eire earned his PhD at Yale University in 1979 and is now the T. Lawrason Riggs Professor of History and Religious Studies at Yale. He lives in Guilford, Connecticut, with his wife, Jane, and their three children.

Biography

Carlos Eire was born in Havana, Cuba, on 23 November 1950. At the age of eleven he fled to the United States without his parents, as one of 14,000 unaccompanied Cuban children airlifted by Operation Peter Pan. Before joining the Yale faculty in 1996, he taught at St. John's University in Minnesota and the University of Virginia, and spent two years at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

His memoir of the Cuban Revolution, Waiting for Snow in Havana (Free Press, 2003), which won the National Book Award in nonfiction for 2003, has been translated into many languages, but is banned in Cuba. A second memoir, Learning to Die in Miami, was published in November 2010. It focuses on the early years of his exile in the United States.

Good To Know

In our exclusive interview with Eire, he shared some fascinating facts, anecdotes, and observations with us:

"Although Spanish is my native language, I think in English. Consequently, it is difficult for me to write well in Spanish. I tried translating my own book and gave up after one chapter, for the results looked like something a fifth-grader would have written. And that is just about right, since it was at the age of 11 that my education switched from Spanish to English. I am currently looking for a Spanish-language publisher who will buy the book and pay for a translator. Ironically, it has already been translated into Dutch and German, and a Finnish translation is in the works, but there is no Spanish translation anywhere on the horizon. This means that my own mother can't read my book. Though she has lived in the United States since 1965, she never learned English and has never been able to read anything I have written."

"I am constantly being asked: ‘Have you ever been back to Cuba?' or, ‘Would you like to go back?' My reply is: I will not go back while Castro is in power and human rights are routinely trampled. No way. When things change, as they will, I suppose I might go back. But the world that exists in my memory is so vivid only because I have given up on the idea of ever reclaiming it, physically. Unlike most people I know, I can't revisit my childhood haunts, so that world survives in my mind and in my soul, intact. I know that if I were to go back the squalor and the crushing oppression of present-day Havana, it would have a devastating effect on me. I got a good sense of that by trying to watch the film Buena Vista Social Club. I couldn't watch more than 15 minutes because the physical destruction of Havana -- and of my own people, and my past -- is so evident in that film. I started weeping so uncontrollably that I had to return the film to the video store, unwatched. As far as I am concerned, Fidel's Cuba might as well be the lowest circle of hell. I don't want to go to either place."

"I am also constantly told that Waiting for Snow in Havana reads more like a novel than a memoir. There is a good reason for this. I wrote the book as a novel and marketed it as a novel. I didn't really want to tell my story and expose details of my life to the whole world. My intention was to tell a story about a boy who grew up during the Cuban Revolution, and to expose through small details the horrors of what many people in the world still consider some benevolent humanitarian experiment. Soon after I began writing, however, I discovered that what had actually happened in my childhood was far more interesting than anything I could invent, so I simply kept writing straight from my memory, changing everyone's names.

"But after the publisher had purchased my manuscript and I revealed that 98 percent of what was in it was history rather than fiction, it became clear to all involved that it had to be published as a memoir. Since one of my reasons for writing a ‘novel' rather than a memoir was that I thought a novel would sell more copies and expose the real Cuba to a wider reading public, I agreed to publishing it as a memoir after it was pointed out to me that nonfiction sells better than fiction, and that my story would have a much greater impact if it were presented as a factual account. The funniest thing that has happened since publication is that many reviewers have praised the book's ‘magic realism' or even praised my imagination in coming up with such outlandish things as my father, the judge, who believes he is the reincarnation of King Louis XVI of France. I am still laughing and will always laugh at this. What a sweet irony: I expose the facts, and many believe them to be fiction, or even worse, ‘magic realism.' One reviewer actually accused me of making false claims and exaggerating. Another thing that makes me laugh is when people compliment me on the title. The fact is that the original title was Kiss the Lizard, Jesus. I still prefer that title and can never think of the book as Waiting for Snow in Havana. My editor found Kiss the Lizard repulsive, however, and asked me to change it. So I came up with a list of 150 alternative titles, and out of all of those Waiting for Snow jumped to first place. In my household, we still call the book The Lizard."

"I don't have time for hobbies -- other than writing books without footnotes -- but I do like to work with my hands. I love gardening and carpentry. I recently built a shed in the back yard, and am as proud of that as any book I have written, even though someone else did all the thinking for me and came up with the plans and measurements. Having failed trigonometry in high school, putting up a well-proportioned structure with straight angles on level ground was no small feat."

"We have four cats. Three are males: Sparky, a brown tabby; Wolfie, a gray Maine coon; and Ralph, an orange tabby. The fourth is a calico female: Oblyna. We keep them indoors all the time because we have a lot of coyotes, foxes, and skunks around our house. Sparky is our escape artist, but we have always been able to retrieve him from the woods. Once, however, our female, Oblyna, disappeared for two weeks. She had slipped out unnoticed. When she returned one Mother's Day morning, she had a huge gash along her back. Apparently, she had a run-in with the wildlife or a neighbor's dog. After being stitched up, she recovered nicely and has never gone out again."

"Speaking of predators and food chains: I am a vegetarian and therefore a huge pain in the neck to my wife and my kids and for anyone who invites me to dinner. I can't bring myself to eat anything that was once a living being. This might be due to the fact that a chimpanzee bit me when I was a child, showing me what it feels like to be eaten. I do eat eggs and milk products, but that is as far as I will go along with the exploitation of the animal proletariat. Since I often travel to Europe for my work, I have a hard time eating over there, especially in Spain, where vegetarianism tends to be considered a disease or a bizarre deviant behavior, akin to self-mutilation."

"And speaking of deviant behavior, here are six of my favorite ways to unwind: shoveling snow, raking leaves, mowing the lawn, splitting wood, digging large holes, and hauling heavy stones from one place to another. I also find any task that involves sledgehammers, axes, picks, and chainsaws very, very relaxing. This is what a revolution can do to your personality."

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    1. Hometown:
      Guilford, Connecticut
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 23, 1950
    2. Place of Birth:
      Havana, Cuba
    1. Education:
      B.A., Loyola University, 1973; M.A., Yale University, 1974; M. Phil., Yale University, 1976; Ph.D., Yale, 1979

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