I’ve long been intrigued by Cuba. I think it really began in 1961 with the Bay of Pigs invasion. It really pushed forward the following year with the Cuban Missile Crisis. I was living with my family in Delaware and I remember my mother making trip after trip to our basement, filling it with canned goods and water. She was preparing in case of disaster. Delaware is not far from Washington, D.C. and we all feared missiles would be deployed from Cuba and surely the nations hub would be targeted. I was only twelve and didn’t understand much of it. I just knew I was really happy when we didn’t have to go live in the basement.
What is it about the exotic island of Cuba that fascinates me? Almost everything. I have highlighted and underlined so much of the writing in the prologue of this book that it almost looks as if the pages have turned yellow. The writing is remarkably good. The author, Ada Ferrer, was born in Cuba but quickly left with her mother to join her father who was living in New York. They left behind her older brother from a former marriage. Ferrer’s heritage was always with her, buzzing just at the surface and nudging her to go back.
Ada did return to Cuba in 1990, for the first time. She totally immersed herself in its libraries and archives and began the process of constructing the island’s past, and her own. She wanted to tell the history of the life of the people and not just the well-known figures. This history she has unraveled is more than a history of Cuba, this book is also a history of Cuba in relation to the United States, a history of the sometimes intimate, sometimes explosive, always uneven relationship between the two countries.
Peppered with black and white photos of the country and the people, this book is a joy to behold. I recently watched a You Tube video of an interview Ada did with Ana Medendez. It’s superb and perfect to along with this book.
I almost got my chance to visit Cuba a couple years ago when we booked a cruise. But, alas, everything got shut down and we had to change our plans. I know that many of you probably did make it to this amazing island. We still hope to go but it will not be through cruise.
I love the book. It’s not only beautiful, it’s stunning in its palatial coverage of an island so near and yet so far from our shores.
My gorgeous finished copy arrived via Scribner which is an affiliate of Simon & Schuster Publishers. All in exchange for an honest review. Truly, I adore it and will treasure it always in my library.