Waiting for Snow in Havana : Confessions of a Cuban Boy by Carlos M. N. Eire (2003, Hardcover)
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- SynopsisIn 1962, at the age of eleven, Carlos Eire was one of 14,000 children airlifted out of Cuba, his parents left behind. His life until then is the subject ofWaiting for Snow in Havana,a wry, heartbreaking, intoxicatingly beautiful memoir of growing up in a privileged Havana household -- and of being exiled from his own childhood by the Cuban revolution.That childhood, until his world changes, is as joyous and troubled as any other -- but with exotic differences. Lizards roam the house and grounds. Fights aren't waged with snowballs but with breadfruit. The rich are outlandishly rich, like the eight-year-old son of a sugar baron who has a real miniature race car, or the neighbor with a private animal garden, complete with tiger. All this is bathed in sunlight and shades of turquoise and tangerine: the island of Cuba, says one of the stern monks at Carlos's school, might have been the original Paradise -- and it is tempting to believe.His father is a municipal judge and an obsessive collector of art and antiques, convinced that in a past life he was Louis XVI and that his wife was Marie Antoinette. His mother looks to the future; conceived on a transatlantic liner bound for Cuba from Spain, she wants her children to be modern, which means embracing all things American. His older brother electrocutes lizards. Surrounded by eccentrics, in a home crammed with portraits of Jesus that speak to him in dreams and nightmares, Carlos searches for secret proofs of the existence of God.Then, in January 1959, President Batista is suddenly gone, a cigar-smoking guerrilla named Castro has taken his place, and Christmas is canceled. The echo of firing squads is everywhere. At the Aquarium of the Revolution, sharks multiply in a swimming pool. And one by one, the author's schoolmates begin to disappear -- spirited away to the United States. Carlos will end up there himself, alone, never to see his father again.Narrated with the urgency of a confession,Waiting for Snow in Havanais both an exorcism and an ode to a paradise lost. More than that, it captures the terrible beauty of those times in our lives when we are certain we have died -- and then are somehow, miraculously, reborn.
- AuthorCarlos M. N. Eire
- Number Of Pages400 pages
- Publication Date2003-01-28
- PublisherFree Press
- Copyright Date2003
- Weight22 Oz
- Height1.2 In.
- Width6.1 In.
- Length9 In.
- LC Classification NumberE184.C97E37 2003
- Dewey Decimal972.91/23063/092 B
- Dewey Edition21
- ReviewsNicholas Gageauthor ofEleniWaiting for Snow in Havanais a profoundly imaginative work, moving, compelling, and powerful. With a magical elegance that is entrancing, Carlos Eire re-creates the world of his childhood as revolution engulfs Cuba. It is a remarkable achievement, one of the most dazzling memoirs to appear in a very long time.
Most relevant reviews
- doc0Oct 06, 2005by
Carlos Eire wrote an extremely well written memoir. He write's about his childhood in Havana. He gives us vivid pictures of Havana at the time and of the colorful inhabitants of his neighborhood. The world of Havana through the eyes of a child.
The wide eyed wonder in which we see this marvelous world called Havana, makes us stop and wonder. Is this a memoir or novel. The writting of child like innocence is so real. How can we remember it. Of course, this is about Mr. Erie's childhood, during the 50's and 60's. So we also get to see the growing darkness and fear brought about by the great revolution brought about by Fidel Castro...and how all their lives were changed.
It will also let you see why so many Cuban's fled that beautiful island for the USA. Most hoping it would only be a temporary seperation from family and homeland. I not only understood what life was like both before and after Castro...I could actually understand the emotion he felt as a child. And now as an adult looking back upon his past. This is a great read.Read full review
- mercitodd7Jan 07, 2007by
Waiting for Snow in Havana
I reaaally liked it - it was recommended as an excellent book - it shows the whole Cuban exile experience from a child's eyes. A lot of insight into Latino family dynamics, and a good reading to all who entered the debate about the little Cuban boy Elian Gonzalez, without knowing a bit of what they were talking about.
I bought it because I want my children to read it soon, when the time is ripe - you see, I was one of those children they talk about in the book.