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Es Cuba: Life and Love on an Illegal Island
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Es Cuba: Life and Love on an Illegal Island

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  119 ratings  ·  15 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 of 176)
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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.
Jun 07, 2014 Louise rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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.
Bethany Stoelting
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

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!
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.
Courtney Ali
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.
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.
Aug 06, 2007 Jeannette rated it 3 of 5 stars
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 :).
Shannon Fulton
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.
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?
Jan 07, 2012 Peg rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.
Jul 20, 2008 Jennifer rated it 5 of 5 stars
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!
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 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: yes
Wonderful book about Cuba from the eyes of an American who lived there to learn about Fidel and the Revolution
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