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Editorial Reviews

Cristina García’s debut novel examines the fraying threads connecting a Cuban family as some of the members remain in Cuba in the years after the Revolution while others emigrate.

Set mostly in the ’70s, the del Pino family suffers from a restlessness that both tears apart and unites its members. To tell the story, García skips through time and switches perspective, sometimes several times per chapter, mostly between the female members of the family. (Although there are men in the book, the women are the storytellers.) Suzanne Toren voices the anguish and disillusionment of the family’s matriarch, Celia. When Celia cannot will away her children’s demons or husband’s death, she throws her remaining vitality into supporting the Cuban revolution.

The narrator differentiates the voices of three generations of Cuban women by donning different degrees of Cuban accent. Celia has the thickest accent, followed by her daughters, Felicia, who never leaves Cuba, and Lourdes, who emigrates to the US immediately after the Revolution. Although Lourdes obsesses over living the American Dream by becoming a successful entrepreneur and by volunteering for her local neighborhood watch, Toren gives her a thicker Cuban accent than Felicia, never allowing Lourdes’ accent to fade, even as the years pass and her bakery business expands.

Lourdes’ rebellious daughter, Pilar, is born in Cuba but comes to the States with her parents when she is still a toddler. Toren gives Pilar just a touch of Cuban accent by way of Brooklyn, and Pilar serves as the listener’s guide — someone who is wholly familiar with Cuban culture without being a part of it.

Toren’s narration is sensitive to the fact that Fidel Castro — always referred to simply as El Líder — serves as not just a background detail for a historical novel, but as central character, in the sense that he catalyzes the plot. As such, look out for the moments when El Líder appears: these moments comprise the most intense, compelling parts of the narrator’s performance. —Maggie Frank

Publisher's Summary

Dreaming in Cuban is the moving story of three generations of women whose ties to Cuba simultaneously draw them closer together while forcing them apart. Haunted by family secrets and longing for the comforts of home, each of the women struggles to come to terms with her true identity – wife, mother, daughter, infidel, patriot, lover, and friend. Torn apart by years of familial and political unrest, each character shares her own personal take on the struggles in Cuba, the shortcomings in her own life and, inevitably, her feelings toward the other women.

A poetic blend of humor and surrealism, Dreaming in Cuban is about the meaning of home and heart, love and hate, and, ultimately, what happens when a broken family tries to rebuild itself.

©1992 Cristina Garcia (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Garcia tells their story with an economy of words and a rich, tropical imagery, setting a brisk but comfortable pace. Highly recommended." (Library Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall

Great book

The book was great. Very good story. I am a Cuban who arrived in the States in1970 and I can guarantee you that Cubans don't s peak English with a Mexican accent. It upseted me every time I heard Maggie Bofill singing the English accent as Mexicans do when she was in fact portraying a Cuban. Somebody didn't d other homework.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding Story

This story made me laugh, cry, and relived many memories as a young child. Beautiful.

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Very Good Recording

Where does Dreaming in Cuban rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It doesn't rank at the top, but Dreaming in Cuban ranks in that second tier of audiobooks. I liked it quite a bit.

What other book might you compare Dreaming in Cuban to and why?

It kind of reminded me of the Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. I enjoyed them both, though they are not in that top tier that is reserved for the greats, such as Infinite Jest or The Goldfinch.

What about Maggie Bofill’s performance did you like?

She has a nice voice and does a great job with the characters. She made the recording pleasurable to the ears.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

what cannot be

Any additional comments?

This is an enjoyable recording. It is not one that pops into my mind when suggesting an audiobook to a friend, but I have no complaints about it.

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Remakable portrayal of family:we all have a story

The author and narrator flawlessly weave together truth of family, individuals, and history. No action or emotion stands alone. We are all connected. Lovely portrayal of Cuba:the country, the people, the beauty, the scars.

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Couldn't listen

Would you try another book from Cristina Garcia and/or Maggie Bofill?

The narrator's is just a bit too grating. Especially when she's talking as the teenager. Just couldn't listen to it.

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Great book

This book was amazing. The story and the narrator are absolutely wonderful. A great mix between historical facts, cultural facts and fiction

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Good description of Cuban expats

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Very good narration with Cuban accent, describes well the confused mentality of young generation of Cubans. They are not here and not there, this is the problem.

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Need a Primer on Cuba before reading this

This seemed like it would be an enjoyable read, however it assumes you have knowledge of Cuba, Cubans, and their customs. I recommend learning about those prior to jumping into this one.

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good book

hard to follow at times, but it was a good book about finding identity and a coming of age story.

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  • Terry
  • Blairsville, Ga. United States
  • 03-26-12

If you can't say anything nice....

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Not at all. Although supposed to be fiction it was too distorted a view of the Cuban family.<br/>

Would you be willing to try another book from Cristina Garcia? Why or why not?

Yes, I will probably listen to the Aguero Sisters...perhaps she did a better job with that novel.

Which scene was your favorite?

None. I was not impressed at all.

Could you see Dreaming in Cuban being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Let's hope not.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful