Review: Waiting for Snow in Havana

Waiting for Snow in Havana

Waiting for Snow in Havana
By Carlos Eire
(Free Press, Paperback, 9780743246415, 2004, 390pp.)

The Short of It:

A young boy’s take on Cuba before and after Fidel Castro.

The Rest of It:

Waiting for Snow in Havana is both an exorcism and an ode to a paradise lost. For the Cuba of Carlos’s youth—with its lizards and turquoise seas and sun-drenched siestas—becomes an island of condemnation once a cigar-smoking guerrilla named Fidel Castro ousts President Batista on January 1, 1959. Suddenly the music in the streets sounds like gunfire. Christmas is made illegal, political dissent leads to imprisonment, and too many of Carlos’s friends are leaving Cuba for a place as far away and unthinkable as the United States. Carlos will end up there, too, and fulfill his mother’s dreams by becoming a modern American man—even if his soul remains in the country he left behind. –Simon & Schuster

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Given the subject matter, I expected it to be more factual but Eire chose to focus on his idyllic childhood. His childhood is fantastical in nature as Carlos was a very imaginative child. His mother, referred to as Marie Antoinette and his father Louis XVI, are rather mysterious figures. They are well-off but the father is preoccupied with his material wealth, more so than his family’s well-being.  So when the family is torn apart, it seems that the burden of responsibility falls on Carlos himself.

Written years later, Eire’s book is full of charm and wit but it’s apparent while reading just how painful his story is to tell. In fact, he’s often said that he wanted this to be a work of fiction, not a memoir and I must tell you, it does read like fiction so for those of you who shy away from memoirs, this might be a good one for you to grab.

My book club read this and we discussed it a couple of weeks ago.  I think we were all in agreement that the writing was lovely, but many felt nothing for Carlos. He was wealthy and spoiled and this prevented many from being able to relate to his story but I don’t know, there is something horrifying about living in a dream world and then being thrown into reality at such a young age. It’s almost more tragic.

Overall, a good discussion book, lovely writing and you’ll learn a little about pre-war Cuba.

Waiting for Snow in Havana won the National Book Award in 2003.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Sunday Matters: In a Good Place

Sunday Matters

Some of you know from my comments on Facebook, that I’ve not been feeling all that great. Lupus is a real challenge because for the most part, you look okay. I think I look like crud but people tell me I look okay. On the inside though, you feel like you are dying. Not all the time, but sometimes. That was me this week.

I can’t ignore how I feel because it affects everything that I do but I am going to try to focus on the good. I have good days. I can still walk. Pain is not really my issue. I have supportive family and friends to cheer me up when I am really not feeling well and I have my books. I think that puts me in a pretty good place!

Yesterday we went to the A Cappella Festival to hear The Teen compete against other schools. They walked away with $2500 and a plaque. I thought they did really well. It was held at my alma mater. It was like going back in time. The place hasn’t changed all that much. Kind of neat to see The Teen perform on the same stage I did years ago.

The Teen (middle) and a couple of his friends while on break. If you look closely, The Girl can be seen on the lower left. She appears to be thinking something. Hmmm.

A Cappella Festival 2015

Right Now:

A quick breakfast and a good cup of coffee and we are off to church. Nothing else planned for the day except volunteering at church later today.

This Week:

The Teen is preparing for his audition/performance for The Jerry Herman awards. He gets to perform in the ensemble for sure, but since he was nominated for the Best Actor category, he has to audition at the end of this month. Headshots need to be taken. Resume has been drafted. Songs have been chosen. It’s a very exciting time!

The 21st is our 21st wedding anniversary! No big plans. An evening spent at home, with take-out, sounds perfectly fine to me.

On the 22nd I see my Lupus doc. Cue intimidating music. I’ve seen some of my test results online and as I suspected, they are not good.

Reading:

I tore through We All Looked Up by  Tommy Wallach.  Mixed feelings over this one. I said I was starting A Little Life last week and I did, but not until very late in the week so I am just now getting into it. It’s the type of book that sucks you in quickly.

Watching:

I am watching season four of Mad Men. It’s not as riveting as the previous seasons but I am still loving it.

Bates Motel ended the season with a little craziness. If you watch that show you know that Norma Bates and Norman are all kinds of crazy but I really don’t know where next season will go.

Finally saw the new Avengers movie. It was entertaining. I didn’t like it as much as the first one. Also sat down to see Into the Woods. Yawn. That one really didn’t do it for me but The Girl loved it.

Making:

Haven’t a clue what to make. Since I am at church until 1 p.m. and then go back around 4 p.m., I really need to know what I’m making before Sunday so I can have the stuff prepped and ready to go. What are you guys making? Give me some ideas.

Grateful for:

Memorial Day weekend! Hey, it’s an extra day and I want to say it falls early this year. The 25th? Yep.

Chatting with friends about books and life…

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