This book starts off with elegant prose, beautiful description, and subtle drama. Then, about 100 pages from the end, it devolves into melodrama, as horrible events are thrown ungracefully and willy-nilly at the page. The end managed to partially suck me in again, but that intervening time had put a real dent in my enjoyment of the book.
centers around two cousins in Cuba during the revolution, one of whom
leaves with her family to go to the United States, and one of whom
stays. It is an elegiac poem to a Cuba that is as much memory as fact.
It is about the difficulty of being an expatriate, and the ways you
remember the land you fled. It is about the worst of Castro's regime.
was, for a while, a complex vision of life in Cuba. And then that fell
apart. It's not that I minded what happened, it was the ham-handed way
that a previously elegant author tried to stuff in one more tragedy
after another. They weren't handled well, and felt forced. One or two
tragic events might have worked, four or five were too many, and badly
Nora has left for the United States, but will never
leave Cuba in her heart. Alicia, her golden-haired cousin, stayed, for
the love of a man, and suffers. Both suffer - Nora metaphorically,
And it is frustrating because for a while,
this book was so good, so quietly sad, so evocative. And then it felt
forced. And I felt frustrated. While the ending managed to tug at my
emotions despite the previous events, it wasn't enough to redeem this