The story begins quietly, in the narrative voice of a young Cuban woman who lives in contemporary Miami. Raised by her grandfather, a Cuban exile, she knows only that he fled turbulent times in Havana in the 1960s, bringing her to Miami when she was hardly more than a baby. These bare facts plus a few lines from a poem by Pablo Neruda are her only key to her mother, her father, her history, and the history of her country. When a package arrives one day, addressed to her, the crumbling letters and fragile photos it contains allow her to piece together the story of her mother, a youthful affair, and the child she bore by a handsome rebel.
Loving Che is a brilliant recapturing of revolutionary Cuba, the changing social mores, the hopes and disappointments, the excitement and terror of the times. It is also an erotic fantasy, a glimpse into the private life of a mythic public figure, and an exquisitely crafted meditation on memory, history, and storytelling. Finally, Loving Che is a triumphant unveiling of how the stories we tell about others ultimately become the story of ourselves.
©2003 Ana Menendez; (P)2003 HighBridge Company
"An evocative first novel...the glimpses of vibrant 1950s Cuba and Teresa and Che's perfectly rendered relationship make this a moving novel from a writer to watch." (Publishers Weekly)
"If Loving Che begins as a self-conscious paean to the redemptive ferocity of love, it ends as an elliptical and finely nuanced meditation on the mysteries of memory and identity." (The New York Times)
"Deftly captures the fluid sense of identity that accompanied the now mythic early days of Cuba's revolution....Menendez is at her best when...revealing what life is like for many Cubans today. She captures Cuba's potential, its desperation and decay, and also its dark humor." (The New York Times Book Review)
I really loved this story, I was intrigued by it's not giving you a conclusion, and allowing me to draw my own. Beautifully performed, I was riveted, and learned a bit about Cuba and the Revolution. I had gotten this book as a preamble to see the movie: " The motorcycle diaries", but found the book and the movie don't cover any of the same time periods in Che Guevara's life, so each stands on it's own.
The book being read by two different women to tell about the life of each is perfect. One learns to love them and the intrigue and involvement for me was deep. I think every bit of the book was important and it was a valuable find for me.
I liked this story and want to like the book more than my rating indicates. The character was believable in thought and action, but the build up to a crescendo was so long a drawn out, it barely felt like a climax. A nice story that was a bit of a dull listen.
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