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Es Cuba: Life and Love on an Illegal Island

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  142 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Es Cuba is a poignant and passionate travel memoir about falling in love with a country and one of its compatriots. Aschkenas never strays from her acute awareness that there is no way to separate her foreignness (intensified by U.S.-Cuba relations) from the complex mix of emotions, devotion and rejection, enrapture and apprehension that she develops toward the country.

Paperback, 360 pages
Published December 20th 2005 by Seal Press
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(showing 1-30)
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May 24, 2016 Joanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Naprawdę niezwykła książka, zarazem o Kubie i jej mieszkańcach, a także o miłości pomiędzy dwójką ludzi z różnych kultur. Porywająca :).

A truly unique book, both about Cuba and its inhabitants and about love between two people from different cultures. Captivating :).
Mar 11, 2008 Natalie rated it liked it
The writing in the book is barely mediocre. She harps on one or two issues over and over...and over. BUT, the book did give a very informative peek into life in Cuba which is very interesting. Here in America, we get precious little about it so this was refreshing and unexpected.
Sep 07, 2016 Louise rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cuba
We know all about the politics... so how about the people? Lea Aschkenas tells us in her moving account of falling in love in Cuba.

A set of circumstances and a desire to learn Spanish put her where few Americans go. She starts off in the cocoon of a tourist hotel and moves (down) to a room the landlord sacrifices greatly to bring it to what we might award 1 or 2 stars, and in the end goes (way down) nearly native.

Along the way she meets Cubans and tells us how they cope. The revolution has broug
Jan 30, 2012 Cara rated it really liked it
The mark of a great travel memoir is that reading it makes you long to travel to the place the author is describing. This book certainly did that for me. Aschkenas not only does a great job of capturing the essence of Cuba, but also the difficulties of navigating a cross-cultural relationship. The challenges and joys she faces in her personal friendship and romance with a Cuban parallel her feelings for the country itself.
Apr 08, 2012 James rated it it was amazing
This a beautifully written, heartfelt story. I was completely absorbed in the book. The book weaves a deeply personal and touching story together with the current state of life on Cuba and with an interesting look at the history of the island. I very highly recommend this book.
Bethany Stoelting
Aug 09, 2011 Bethany Stoelting rated it really liked it
Aschkenas drew great comparisons between Cuba and the U.S. as well as other Latin American countries. Her insights made me better understand the mysterious country's everyday life which was simply fascinating. In spite of this, I found myself occasionally frustrated by Aschkenas' writing style and over-use of detail. It was difficult for me to read her constant hesitation and angst in her relationship with Alfredo, too. Overall, though, it was a good read, and I would recommend it to other curio ...more
Sep 17, 2011 Lisa rated it it was ok

What I liked about the book was the insight in to a country wrought by Socialist rule. It really made me feel lucky to live in America. The love story was sweet, and I admire Leah's bravery in living in a place that would give me absolute culture shock.

I actually had a chance to speak with Leah in my travel writing class in college. She was very open and is still with her Cuban husband, I THINK still living in the US. Overall, great insight into Cuba!
Jun 25, 2013 Courtney rated it really liked it
I really liked this book and found myself getting wrapped up in the love story despite my skepticism towards anything remotely love story-ish. There is enough other stuff going on in the book to keep it from getting cheesy. The story takes place in 2000 and things in Cuba have changed a bit since then so don't take everything at face value.
Apr 09, 2016 Tekla rated it really liked it
I just loved this book. It was wonderfully charming and insightful read. The author is quite careful to avoid being judgmental either towards Cuba or the US and she just sticks to describing her experiences of visiting Cuba, meeting her future husband there and all the complications of visiting Cuba, learning about a different culture, having an interracial intercultural relationship etc.
Aug 06, 2007 Jeannette rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Julia
Interesting account of a journalist's trip to Cuba and her love affair with both the country and a Cuban man. Appreciated her honesty throughout the book. Her naivete was touching at times, slightly irritating at others :).
Jul 25, 2014 Marsha rated it liked it
This interesting account of an American woman's eight months in Cuba (2000) did not make me want to go there! It's a fascinating place, but the inequalities and hardships don't make it sound appealing.
Jul 20, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: chics who like to travel
Recommended to Jennifer by: Amazon!
I loved traveling and discovering Cuba with Lea. The story sooo felt like it could have been me. Hope to see Cuba through my own eyes one day!
Shannon Fulton
Mar 19, 2007 Shannon Fulton rated it liked it
good lazy (but interesting) read. her love story goes on and on which gets kind of boring - the real interesting part of the book is the merge of 2 cultures, and her struggle to understand Cuba.
Maria Dudley
Jun 03, 2015 Maria Dudley rated it it was ok

This book was interesting in the sense that I really learned about Cuba, but it needs a lot of editing. Way too long and hard to get through.
Jan 16, 2010 NHU rated it liked it
this is a well written book describing the now rather familiar journey of a nice Jewish girl whose ambivalence and doubts about marrying a Cuban are resolved. Who knows what the ending will be?
May 05, 2008 SiriJodha rated it liked it
Good insights into contemporary Cuban culture. A fun read. Really curious to learn how the real-life story is turning out.
Dec 14, 2006 Tamara rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: yes
Wonderful book about Cuba from the eyes of an American who lived there to learn about Fidel and the Revolution
Jan 07, 2012 Peg rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cuba
For a while it seemed like a book about "how I met my husband.". However, it allowed
me to relate to present day Cuba and my subsequent trip better than any other book.
Janis Sankowski
Janis Sankowski rated it really liked it
Jun 12, 2011
Kathryn Jacoby
Kathryn Jacoby rated it really liked it
Dec 05, 2014
Kristin rated it it was amazing
May 18, 2015
Shannon Olivetti
Shannon Olivetti rated it really liked it
Mar 26, 2012
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Aug 18, 2013
Feb 24, 2016 Alison added it
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Apr 07, 2015
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Oct 16, 2009
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Mary Northover rated it liked it
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