National Book Award, Nonfiction, 2003
A childhood in a privileged household in 1950s Havana was joyous and cruel, like any other - but with certain differences. The neighbor's monkey was liable to escape and run across your roof. Surfing was conducted by driving cars across the breakwater. Lizards and firecrackers made frequent contact.
Carlos Eire's childhood was a little different from most. His father was convinced he had been Louis XVI in a past life. At school, classmates with fathers in the Batista government were attended by chauffeurs and bodyguards. At a home crammed with artifacts and paintings, portraits of Jesus spoke to him in dreams and nightmares. Then, in January 1959, the world changed: Batista was suddenly gone, a cigar-smoking guerrilla took his place, and Christmas was cancelled. The echo of firing squads was everywhere. And, one by one, the author's schoolmates begin to disappear - spirited away to the United States. Carlos would end up there himself, without his parents, never to see his father again.
Narrated with the urgency of a confession, Waiting for Snow in Havana is both an ode to a paradise lost and an exorcism. More than that, it captures the terrible beauty of those times when we are certain we have died - and then are somehow, miraculously, reborn.
©2003 Carlos Eire (P)2011 Tantor
"As painful as Eire's journey has been, his ability to see tragedy and suffering as a constant source of redemption is what makes this book so powerful." (Publishers Weekly)
I have read numerous books on Cuba, the Cuban Revolution, the principle players at the time and the part America played in it. While mildly amusing at times, I found this book to be historically incorrect at times and just plain boring. After struggling to the end of the book, I was just glad it was over.
Both, and for the same reasons... The people, the country, the times and the culture.
Just wonderful, I can finally recommend a book to my American friends that explains what we Cuban American immigrants really experienced in pre and post-revolutionary Cuba. I am so glad that this story is finally being told and hopefully understood.
I believe the book is good... the story is good... compelling... sad... informative... really really good actually... the narrator ruined this for me personally... His voice was just not a great match for the story, I feel...
Carlos Eire writes in the surrealistic romantic style of all great Latin American writers. His story is vivid, innocent, and magical. It was a joy to hear.
This National Book Award-winning memoir is a delight. Eire's observations of his time in Havana as a young boy growing up in a well-to-do family, before the revolution, reflect the unique perspective of youth on family and daily events yet also reveal glimpses into the future as a "lost boy" evacuated from Cuba shortly after Castro came into power. I loved his "voice" as the author, but I did not care at all for the reader's interpretation of the book. His mostly flat, predictably metered reading I found tedious. He did manage some different voices for the female characters and the odd sound effects. But I don't think he did the story justice. I would still recommend the book, just listen to a sample first to see if you're willing to spend so many hours with that voice.
reader, teacher, writer=happy person
the reader, though skilled, was just the wrong choice for this book. I was not expecting someone to sound like I imagined Eire would sound, but he sounded like a mad men era ad man, all bluster, dripping sarcasm, no nuance. And the book is nuanced...disappointing. Might have given book more stars, but just could not separate the two.
he is a historian. might read one of them
The whine in the narrator's voice greatly diminished this story. Often I was so annoyed I wasn't listening to the story at all. Was he attempting to capture how a young, well-off Cuban boy might sound? I thought he didn't succeed.
His parents were interesting people, especially the dad who thought he was someone famous in an earlier life. Some of these details were humorous, as well as other aspects of this memoir.
I am a lover of memoirs. I was intrigued to learn more about Cuba. The story droned on with too much detail that I found uninteresting. Although I kept returning to the book, ultimately I didn't finish it, as I found it boring after awhile. The pace was too slow. It simply didn't capture my interest.
The story line was just too slow and jumped around too much. I kept waiting for the book to get interesting, and finally found my self fast forwarding through several chapters. By the end of the first download, I knew I didn't want to bother with the second download.
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