Dreaming in Cuban: A Novel

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“Impressive . . . [Cristina García’s] story is about three generations of Cuban women and their separate responses to the revolution. Her special feat is to tell it in a style as warm and gentle as the ‘sustaining aromas of vanilla and almond,’ as rhythmic as the music of Beny Moré.”—Time
Cristina García’s acclaimed book is the haunting, bittersweet story of a family experiencing a country’s revolution and the revelations that follow. The lives of Celia del Pino and her husband, daughters, and grandchildren mirror the magical realism of Cuba itself, a landscape of beauty and poverty, idealism and corruption. Dreaming in Cuban is “a work that possesses both the intimacy of a Chekov story and the hallucinatory magic of a novel by Gabriel García Márquez” (The New York Times). In celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the novel’s original publication, this edition features a new introduction by the author.

Praise for Dreaming in Cuban

“Remarkable . . . an intricate weaving of dramatic events with the supernatural and the cosmic . . . evocative and lush.”San Francisco Chronicle
“Captures the pain, the distance, the frustrations and the dreams of these family dramas with a vivid, poetic prose.”The Washington Post
“Brilliant . . . With tremendous skill, passion and humor, García just may have written the definitive story of Cuban exiles and some of those they left behind.”The Denver Post
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About the author

Cristina García is the author of seven novels, most recently King of Cuba, and the forthcoming Berliners Who. She has published poetry, books for young readers, and edited anthologies on Latino/a literature. Her work has been nominated for a National Book Award and translated into fourteen languages. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Award, and an NEA grant, among others. García has taught at universities nationwide and lives in the San Francisco Bay area.
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Additional Information

Ballantine Books
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Published on
Jun 8, 2011
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Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Psychological
Fiction / Sagas
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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When Cristina García's first novel, Dreaming in Cuban, was published in 1992, The New York Times called the author "a magical new writer...completely original." The book was nominated for a National Book Award, and reviewers everywhere praised it for the richness of its prose, the vivid drama of the narrative, and the dazzling illumination it brought to bear on the intricacies of family life in general and the Cuban American family in particular. Now, with The Agüero Sisters, García gives us her widely anticipated new novel. Large, vibrant, resonant with image and emotion, it tells a mesmerizing story about the power of family myth to mask, transform, and, finally, reveal the truth.

It is the story of Reina and Constancia Agüero, Cuban sisters who have been estranged for thirty years. Reina, forty-eight years old, living in Cuba in the early 1990s, was once a devoted daughter of la revolución; Constancia, an eager to assimilate naturalized American, smuggled herself off the island in 1962. Reina is tall, darkly beautiful, unmarried, and magnetically sexual, a master electrician who is known as Compañera Amazona among her countless male suitors, and who basks in the admiration she receives in her trade and in her bed. Constancia is petite, perfectly put together, pale skinned, an inspirationally successful yet modest cosmetics saleswoman, long resigned to her passionless marriage. Reina believes in only what she can grasp with her five senses; Constancia believes in miracles that "arrive every day from the succulent edge of disaster." Reina lives surrounded by their father's belongings, the tangible remains of her childhood; Constancia has inherited only a startling resemblance to their mother--the mysterious Blanca--which she wears like an unwanted mask.

The sisters' stories are braided with the voice from the past of their father, Ignacio, a renowned naturalist whose chronicling of Cuba's dying species mirrored his own sad inability to prevent familial tragedy. It is in the memories of their parents--dead many years but still powerfully present--that the sisters' lives have remained inextricably bound. Tireless scientists, Ignacio and Blanca understood the perfect truth of the language of nature, but never learned to speak it in their own tongue. What they left their daughters--the picture of a dark and uncertain history sifted with half-truths and pure lies--is the burden and the gift the two women struggle with as they move unknowingly toward reunion. And during that movement, as their stories unfurl and intertwine with those of their children, their lovers and husbands, their parents, we see the expression and effect of the passions, humor, and desires that both define their differences and shape their fierce attachment to each other and to their discordant past.

The Agüero Sisters is clear confirmation of Cristina García's standing in the front ranks of new American fiction.

From the Hardcover edition.
"Deslumbrante...Extraordinaria...García se revela como una nueva escritora m gica...Poderosa, visionaria...Totalmente original."
--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"MARAVILLOSA...UNA NOVELA JOYA... La novela Soñar en cubano est escrita maravillosamente en un lenguaje que es sucesivamente l nguido y sensual, brusco y sorprendente. Como el lenguaje cristalino de Louise Erdrich, destilado de im genes que son nuevas en nuestra literature americana pero antiguas en esta región, Cristina García ha destilado una nueva lengua de los fragmentos salvados por medio del trastorno...Es [la] magia ordinaria en la novela de García, y el sentido propio de lirismo de sus personajes, los que le dan una buena acogida a su trabajo como la última señal de que la literatura americana tiene su propia descendiente hibrida de la escuela latinoamericana."
--Thulani Davis, The New York Times Book Review
"Conmovedora y perspicaz...Habla de una familia que est dividida política y geogr ficamente por la revolución cubana...[y] de las hendiduras que se abren en cada lado: En Cuba, entre una abuela que es una partidaria fervorosa de Castro y una hija que se refugia en un culto de santería afrocubano; en América, entre otra hija, agresivamente en contra de Castro y su propia hija, la artista punk y rebelde, que se burla de su obsesión...El realismo es exquisito."
--Richard Eder,Los Angeles Times
"Extraordinaria...Un tejido intrincado de eventos dram ticos con lo sobrenatural y lo cósmico...Evocadora y opulenta...Una narrativa rica y obsesionante, una voz nueva y excelente en la ficción contempor nea."
--Jackie Jones, San Francisco Chronicle
"Impresionante...Su historia se trata de tres generaciones de mujeres cubanas y sus reacciones por separado a la revolución. Su hazaña particular es la de contaria en un estilo tan caluroso y dulce como los 'aromas continuos de la vainilla y la almendra,' tan rítmico como la música de Beny Moré."
--Amelia Weiss, Time

From the Trade Paperback edition.
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