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Dreaming in Cuban

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  7,312 Ratings  ·  492 Reviews
Here is the dreamy and bittersweet story of a family divided by politics and geography by the Cuban revolution. It is the family story of Celia del Pino, and her husband, daughter and grandchildren, from the mid-1930s to 1980. Celia's story mirrors the magical realism of Cuba itself, a country of beauty and poverty, idealism and corruption. DREAMING IN CUBAN presents a uni ...more
Paperback, 245 pages
Published February 10th 1993 by Ballantine Books (first published 1992)
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Joelle If you are asking if there is magic realism in this book: yes there is! I read an excerpt from the book and even in that small portion I found…moreIf you are asking if there is magic realism in this book: yes there is! I read an excerpt from the book and even in that small portion I found multiple instances of magic realism. :)(less)

Community Reviews

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Mar 13, 2016 Brina rated it really liked it
Yet another Latina writer that I discovered in high school. Beautiful prose with magical realism I have yet to discover in U.S. born writers, even after all this time. Along with Allende and Alvarez, Garcia's writing lead me to become a lifelong learner of Spanish. Highly recommend.
Sep 01, 2007 Ryl rated it it was ok
Shelves: american, reviewed
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 09, 2011 Lila rated it it was amazing
Shelves: magical-realism
What a delight to not only find an author who I'd never read before, but discover that she has many more books for me to read! I can’t believe I never knew about her works before! I feel like I uncovered a treasure chest, a rich lush story that was so captivating that once I finished, I immediately reread it. And the best part, I read it while on vacation in Cuba!
The story follows the lives of 4 women; the grandmother who still lives in Cuba and believes in the revolution, her 2 daughters, one
Claire McAlpine
Set against the background of the Cuban Revolution, Cristina García's Dreaming in Cuban is a story that spans three generations of women in the del Pino/Almeida family, highlighting the things that tie them together and those which push them apart.

The book opens with a vision of a man walking across water, a vision seen through a pair of binoculars, by Celia, the matriarchal grandmother. The man she sees is her ailing husband, Jorge del Pino who left for the United States four years earlier to s
Clif Hostetler
Mar 25, 2013 Clif Hostetler rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
True to the title, this book is definitely Cuban and dreamy. The story follows three generations of Cuban women, jumping forward and backward in time, hopping back and forth between Cuba and New York, and switching between a variety of narrative styles (i.e. third person, first person, and epistolary). This variety in time, location, style and person contributes to the dreamy ambiance, but for me it was a bit nightmarish.

The human and family relationships in this story all seem afflicted with v
mark monday
Jan 10, 2012 mark monday rated it really liked it
Shelves: into-the-past
read during my AIG Years

I Remember: a tale of a family during the Cuban Revolution... a focus on the voices of women... epic in scope, intimate in perspective... wonderfully differentiated characters, you really get to understand them, all about them, well beyond the politics - although the politics are central... gorgeous prose... warm and humanistic and full of love & anger & death & life.

must read this one again.

i originally read this so that i could have something literary to di
Jun 04, 2009 Chrissie rated it really liked it
I had started this, but had been forced to put it aside before reading all of it. Now I have gone back to it. I love the lines. I enjoy the mixture of fact and fiction. The fictional aspect allows the author to play with the details, descriptions and words. The author is a poet with her words. Originally she had planned this to be a poem! I have returned right smack to the beginning. I probably would have forgotten parts, and I don't want to miss anything. This is too good a book for that.

It is
Apr 07, 2009 karen rated it it was ok
I am reading this but feel 80% sure I've read it before. This is because I have either it before or b. it is so very similar to her other book the Aguero Sisters. I will determine upon completion.

Upon completion I am still only 80% sure I've read this before. Perhaps I merely dreamed it.
Jamilla Rice
May 12, 2012 Jamilla Rice rated it really liked it
Dreaming in Cuban was a gem. I am glad that I forgot to return it to the library. If it weren’t the last book that I had to return, I might never have read it. It reminds me a lot of Tan fiction: mothers and daughters lost in translation, with connections skipping generations.

It’s also very lyrical and poetic, which would be pretty hard to escape considering the strong lyrical quality of the language. There was so much beauty, yet so much sadness.

I suppose it was mostly about separation: the p
Aug 22, 2012 Raquel rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, august
Read this once before years ago. I forgot the plot entirely but I remember disliking it immensely. I decided to give it another go. I'm slogging through it and disliking it immensely all over again. Do not know if I can make myself finish.... but I have a real problem leaving books unfinished! I dislike every single character in the book and am having problems caring what happens to them. The disjointed style and absolute darkness of the story make it seem more like a nightmare than a dream. I f ...more
Apr 26, 2007 Esther rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I did my senior thesis on this book, and I loved it. For those English and Spanish speakers. The relationships Christina Garcia creates between the different generations, and the circular motions in which she presents their stories and intertwines them is like poetry. And reading it in Spanish is even more poetic...though Garcia originally tried to write the novel in Spanish, and said she could not, and ended up writing it in English, I still think the translation is beautiful. I really enjoyed ...more
Jocelyn Cassada
Mar 31, 2012 Jocelyn Cassada rated it really liked it
In Dreaming in Cuban, Cristina García tells the stories of three generations of Cuban women in the time period surrounding the Cuban Revolution. The book was very interesting and sometimes challenging to read because García switched among the stories of the women and within those stories, she often changed the perspective from first person to third person or vice versa. Nonetheless, I liked this narrative technique was an interesting way for the reader to gain perspective on the different charac ...more
Sep 21, 2012 kirkesque rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cmu-12
A deliberate and pedantic narration prevents deeper connection with the characters. And for a story set against the backdrop of the Cuban Revolution and generational diaspora, this was exceedingly boring. The most dominate flaw is the hyper-conscious. MFA-creative writing style of writing in the present tense. Seldom is there a novel which demonstrates reason to do this, other than the myopic programming of creative writing programs, and it certainly does not merit use in a tale that switches ch ...more
☼♎ Carmen the Bootyshaker Temptress ☼♎
This was a really well written story about the struggle of the women and their reality to the present and the past but also to each other. A great story.
Sep 17, 2016 Meg rated it liked it
I really liked this book. It gave good insight to life in Cuba, immigration in NY and Miami and the role of women
1.5 stars because I feel bad giving just one.

I simply did not enjoy this book. I just kept reading it to get to the end and not because I liked reading it. There were some paragraphs I completely skipped and a few I quite *almost* appreciated.

The plot revolves around the life of three generations, from grandmother to mom and to daughter. Their story alternates Cuba and New York City as their background and we are like an audience admiring the show of their life.

There are a few reasons I did not
Jan 06, 2011 SarahC rated it it was ok
Actually 2 1/2 stars---

Dreaming in Cuban is one of those novels that is somewhat a struggle to read. It is interesting but at the same time disjointed. Perhaps the author hopes to represent the disjointed lives of Cubans and Cuban-Americans during the Batistan government and after the Cuban Revolution by using a very disjointed narrative. I feel that method of writing isn’t necessary to get the point across.

The novel describes the lives of three generations of a Cuban family prior to and since t
Aug 21, 2014 Melinda rated it did not like it
So. I'm not sure who is deeming these books on the Common Core book list acceptable, but this is another atrocity. Here is another book considered a great read for high school students, sophomores and higher. However, the language is sometimes vulgar, the explicit sexual descriptions are not something any kid should be reading about, let alone discussing with their English teacher or parent. All I can think, is the author must be friends with the people recommending this book for the high school ...more
Jun 16, 2010 Lori rated it liked it
A lyrical,haunting,confusing novel of lost love and heartache. Garcia has a way with words that can make the readers heart race. She is poetic and mystical and heartbreakingly sad. Her characters are all flawed and this novel flows well in an often confusing daze from person to person at different time periods through Cuba's revolutionary beginning in the seventies. It begins with the life of Celia Almeida del Pinto. Her clearest memory as a child is when her mother abandons her and puts her on ...more
I am in awe of what Garcia can create with language. This is one of the most inventive books I have ever read. Unfortunately the structure was a little too inventive for me. The back and forth between characters, points of view and timeframes caused me to lose track and lose momentum for the story. She created so many bizarre characters and situations in glorious, precise detail that I wanted to spend more time with each of them but their vividness vanished when I turned the page to find another ...more
Matías Zitterkopf
Oct 16, 2011 Matías Zitterkopf rated it really liked it
La verdad que en la Licenciatura en Inglés que estoy haciendo, en estos 2 años hemos leído libros interesantes.

Este no es una excepción. Me encantó el toque de realismo mágico, la forma rápida y fluida de la escritora para describir los colores del mar y los paisajes de Cuba, lo cuál es útil para imaginar el lugar.

La vida de tres generaciones de mujeres y sus familias durante la revolución Cubana y como ellas reaccionan ante eso. Un trasfondo político que no es para nada abrumador.

La frase que m
Roger DeBlanck
Mar 30, 2013 Roger DeBlanck rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Garcia’s writing is exquisite, oftentimes brilliant, but this novel about a Cuban family during the revolution demands patience. It can be a labor to trudge through with its hodgepodge story, told in bursts and fragments, which make it difficult to engage entirely in the narrative. I would have liked more flow and momentum in order to feel the immediacy of events as they transpired. It feels too much like starting and stopping and having to regain your bearings each time. Fortunately, the book i ...more
Christian Paula
May 21, 2016 Christian Paula rated it it was amazing
Sometimes a book hits you in the right way at the right time. I remember seeing this book in high school, when it was required reading for other classes I wasn't a part of. I saw it at a thrift store and figured it was as good a time as any to pick it up.
After A FIERCE AND SUBTLE POISON, this was exactly the book I wanted to read next. A family saga of three generations of women, coming to themselves and each other amidst the backdrop of Communist Cuba. Family sagas are part of my wheelhouse, bu
Jan 23, 2011 Lori rated it really liked it
Oh, this makes the... what? 10th time now? Granted, I teach this book in one of my classes, else I probably would not have read it as often, but each time I honestly do find new points to discuss with students. More importantly, the students always bring up amazing points that have never occurred to me!
It does get better each time. If I could bump my rating up a half star, I'd do so.
Maria Alcantara
Apr 24, 2017 Maria Alcantara rated it really liked it
I think it was an interesting book to read, I have never read a book like that bur now that I did I will probably read it again.
Apr 17, 2009 Allie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people interested in Cuba, the American experience, and very poetic writing
I have to say that I hardly remember Dreaming in Cuban's characters and story. In fact, a few weeks after finishing it, everything had left my memory except for certain strong impressions--its atmosphere, images, & emotions--all of which eventually blurred together and remain with me a year later. Whether this is a good sign or something unintended by the author, I haven't really figured out. Either way, I am still totally amazed by its dreamlike effects.

García carries us on her lush, poetic
Dec 15, 2012 Charlene rated it really liked it
My interest in the Cuban-American writer started when Junot Diaz, one of my favourite writers, noted that Cristina Garcai was an inspiration for his own novels. A believer that reading your favourite writers' favourite writers will only make you a better writer, I read immediately read Garcia's second novel, "The Aguero Sisters" and was hooked immediately.

Although "Dreaming in Cuban" is not as sensuous or poetic in its prose (Garcia's familiar poetic rhythm kicks in only in the second half of th
Dreaming in Spanish

I love Havana , it's noise and decay and painted last was

Belong - not instead of here, but more than here.

Keep my grandmothers company in her porch

p 255 The Cuban propensity for exaggeration contributes to this. If every exit claimed to have a deed to his ranch on the island actually produced it , the joke goes, Cuba would be the size of Brazil.

p193 That we can see and understand everything just as well alive as dead, only when we're alive we don't have the time, or
Dreaming in Cuban is an intergenerational family saga that covers the lives of four del Pino women – Celia, Felicia, Lourdes, and Pilar – during the time of Fidel Castro’s rule in Cuba, with additional occasional perspectives from their children and friends.

Family saga! Magical realism! Diverse and complex female characters! What isn’t to like about Dreaming in Cuban? As it turns out, not much. This book was so well-crafted, and each one of the main characters had a unique and fascinating storyl
Jan 13, 2011 Michelle rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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  • Caramelo
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  • Take Me With You
  • Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza
  • American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood
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After working for Time Magazine as a researcher, reporter, and Miami bureau chief, García turned to writing fiction. Her first novel, Dreaming in Cuban (1992), received critical acclaim and was a finalist for the National Book Award. She has since published her novels The Agüero Sisters (1997) and Monkey Hunting (2003), and has edited books of Cuban and other Latin American literature. Her fourth ...more
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