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Waiting for Snow in Havana by Carlos Eire August 7, 2007

Posted by bookgoddess in Authors, Book Clubs, Books, Fiction, library programs, Literature, readers, Reading, Second Saturday Book Club.
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When I was in the fourth grade in Catholic school in Miami Beach, we were joined by a number of students, mostly girls, who had recently arrived from Cuba with their families.  We knew there had been a coup in Cuba, and pretty soon we were to be frightened by Soviet missiles that were way too close for comfort.  We even knew that these new arrivals had left a beautiful homeland, and that many of them had been forced to abandon family, wealth, and property. 

But it was impossible for us to fully understand the trauma of being an exile.  And one of the reasons we read is to try to understand our fellow human beings a little better.  Carlos Eire offers us a look into the heart and mind of one exile in Waiting for Snow in Havana.

As the son of a judge, Carlos led a privileged life in pre-Castro Cuba.  His father was a creative, eccentric character who believed he was the reincarnation of Louis XVI.  While the sons of the family enjoy a carefree, rough and tumble boyhood, Eire makes us aware that other members of Cuban society were not so fortunate.

After Castro took power, thousands of children were sent to foster families in the United States in a program called “Operation Pedro Pan.”  Carlos and his brother Tony were two of those children.  One day, they would be reunited with their mother, but never their father.  Carlos would go on to become a university professor.  But the legacy of his childhood remains.

The book is a remarkable portrait of a vanished world, of how we deal with loss, of love between parents and children.  Eire’s worldview is spiritual and metaphoric, while his descriptions are earthy and vivid.

This beautifully written narrative gives us a glimpse of a human soul.  I highly recommend it to you!

Tina Maura Albee

The Book Goddess

P.S.  We’ll be discussing this book(which won the National Book Award) at the Second Saturday Book Club on Saturday, August 11 at the West Palm Beach Public Library at 10:30 a.m.  Please join us! 

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