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How to Leave Hialeah

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  284 ratings  ·  33 reviews
United in their fierce sense of place and infused with the fading echoes of a lost homeland, the stories in Jennine Capó Crucet’s striking debut collection do for Miami what Edward P. Jones does for Washington, D.C., and what James Joyce did for Dublin: they expand our ideas and our expectations of the city by exposing its tough but vulnerable underbelly.

Crucet’s writing
Paperback, 184 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by University Of Iowa Press
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Jul 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2012
Junot Diaz’s Drown. Sandra Cisnero’s House on Mango Street. Achy Obejas’ Memory Mambo. These are just some reference points for Jenine Capo-Crucet’s marvelous short story collection, How To Leave Hialeah. Set in the vastly Cuban working class neighborhood of Hialeah, a city in northwest Miami, these stories are tragic and tender, violent and hilarious. A young woman seeks to resurrect a legendary salsa singer to help cement an internship. A gang of kids find a dead body and wind up having to ...more
Dan Coxon
Feb 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
As with most short story collections, some of the stories are stronger than others... But when Jennine Capo Crucet is strong, she's really strong. The best pieces in this collection echo long after they finish, and her voice manages to be both culturally specific and impressively universal. A fantastic debut - more please!
Kate Savage
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Capo Crucet's writing is rooted deep in a specific ecology and community. These are character-driven stories, not plot-driven, but all the same the body count is high. Almost all of the pieces in here are about death. Those that aren't are about bodies that decay or fail.

I tried typing down my favorite stories, but found that the list was getting too long and all-inclusive. If you want to read about a radio intern enlisting nuns and santeras in the quest to resurrect Celia Cruz, or what happens
Alex Maldonado
Nov 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Such a great read, although to get the full picture, multiple read-throughs are necessary. Capo Crucet touches on many themes that almost any Latino/a can identify with, all while bringing such realistic and flawed characters to life. Each short story has a different tone, feel, and theme to it that make them perfect on their own, but even better when read together.
Steve Hersh
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
How to Leave Hialeah is an amazing short story collection from a major talent. I loved it! Stand out stories are "And in the Morning, Work", "The Next Move", "Noche Buena", and the title story, "How to Leave Hialeah."
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this because I wanted something to set the mood for a Miami trip. Jennine Capo Crucet is a gifted writer and I'm excited to read more of her work. I didn't find all of the stories equally captivating but I'm glad I read them.

My favorites were:
"The Story behind the Failure of the 2003 Radio Salsa 98.1 Semi-Annual Cuban and/or Puerto Rican Heritage Festival". I can't even summarize what this was about properly, but it's an excellent opening story, that changes pace and style .

"And in the
Ana Facio
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I had to read this for my Global Lit class. When I opened the book I knew I was going to fall in love with the characters and the collection of short stories. The characters are so complex and raw which makes the story feel more human and relatable. The usage of language shapes a story in a way in which the audience can connect to on a deeper level. I personally identify with a lot of the characters in the book because of my Latina heritage. Personally it was nice to see characters like me ...more
Maria Reads
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this short story collection, most of the stories felt really unexpected. I love her ability to weave in a variety of characters, and how she honors and depicts her Cuban heritage. All of her characters really come to life, I especially loved her writings around relationships, specifically abuse. It didn't not feel trite. Overall great collection.
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The first story, I felt out of place and like I had insufficient context to understand the language, the references, the meaning of the story. And then, in every subsequent story, I fell completely into the moments of people's lived that Janine Capo Crucet describes. Highly, highly recommend.
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short stories that made me nostalgic for home. Capo Cruzet’s writing is funny and heart wrenching at the same time. Must read for anyone who has left home

Capo Cruzet’s writing is funny and heart wrenching at the same time. Must read for anyone who has left home.
Jennifer Reading
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I picked this up after finishing her novel, Make Your Home Among Strangers. This collection is rich. I can't wait to meet the author tomorrow at our library...
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved these stories. Some really funny moments, memorable characters and I really loved the titular essay "How to Leave Hialeah". Can't wait to read her novel!
Nov 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
I came upon Jennine Capó Crucet quite by accident, through an excerpt from her forthcoming novel in Guernica (highly recommended). These stories deal primarily with the Cuban-American community in and around Miami, and while there are one or two stories that utilize Cuba as a backdrop I think Crucet's strength is in depicting the curious hybridity of Cuban Miami. She obviously has a great and complicated affection for Miami and for Florida and I am really hoping that in her future works she does ...more
Lyana Rodriguez
Aug 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Really a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Before I say anything, you all should probably know: I’m extremely biased with the subject of this book. This is because I am Cuban, and, for most of my life, I have starved for just the tiniest bit of representation, a glimmer of a life similar to the one I lead here in Southern Florida. The closest thing I have ever gotten is George Lopez’s wife and her over-the-top Cuban Dad on The George Lopez show. I’d do anything to get that glimpse, even read the most awful
Yvette Ward-Horner
Sep 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is a stunning collection of earthy, uproarious stories that force you to smile even as they break your heart. Ms. Crucet doesn't hold back at all in her intimate depictions of the lives of Cuban immigrants in Miami.

I first encountered one of the stories in this book in an online literary journal and was captivated by the writer's honesty. Here's a link to the story, Low Tide. If you're not sure whether or not to buy this book, go and read Low Tide first. It will give you an appetite for
May 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
A collection that has strengths and weaknesses. The sense of place and prose were very strong, but the characters and stories weren't very good. I live in South Florida and grew up outside of Lawrence, so these characters and the setting didn't have much of an effect, or any novelty for me. The author was pretty young when these stories were written and I'd give her another shot to see if she was able to color in the lines.
Elissa Washuta
Jul 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
Amazing stories--incredible detail, endings with surprise, fantastic characters. I wanted it to keep going and going. Each story was separately devastating. There's a lot of spot-on humor and precise, startling imagery that makes me feel like my eyes are pulled open super wide and I'm watching something I can't stop watching but luckily I don't have to stop watching it.
Abigail Lalonde
Sep 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: school
Amazingly vivid short stories with rich characters. Humorous, carefully crafted human condition pieces. I never would have picked up this book on my own, but read excerpts from it for class and found myself loving every well-placed word. It doesn't hurt that the author skyped with our class and answered questions with an adorable wit.
Tammy Powley
Mar 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I need to remember to read short story collections more often. This was a nice book to read and not feel overwhelmed with the size.

As far as content, even though I am not Cuban American, these stories still spoke to me, especially concerning family and loss.

Many of the characters were complex enough that I felt they could have an entire book written about them.
Dec 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, favorites
Ay dios mio! These stories are so f'd up and riotously funny. Jennine gets you so close to each moment because she crafts details like you just can't believe, and you get lost in someone else's life, and then your whole world dissolves. Sometimes several generations. Sometimes several families, all at once. Please, MAS!
Oct 12, 2015 rated it liked it
While well written, this collection of short stories, as a whole, didn't resonate to me. My favorites were "Drift" where Rebeca and her brother Jovany find the corpse of a man in an canal near their home; "And in the Morning, Work" Marielena reads to cigar roller workers in a factory and Nino expresses a romantic interest in her.
Drew Jameson
May 04, 2010 rated it liked it
In the title story and "Men Who Punched Me In the Face," Capo Crucet is a blazing bad ass, manipulating voice and perspective in ways that are unnerving and effective. The rest of the collection struck me as rather pedestrian, though.
Beautiful narration, memorable voices

Each story pulled me in immediately. Memorable characters. Makes for a fast read. Whether or not you normally read short fiction, give this collection a shot!
Hafeez Lakhani
Sep 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
It's happened--someone's made art of Hialeah!
Sep 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Some very fine stories here. Particularly enjoyed the title story.
Oct 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Overall, a wonderful book of short stories...Half of them definitely "5 star" writing and the other half a mix of 3 and 4 stars...
Apr 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
These are some amazing stories. Vibrant, beautiful, moving and evocative. I'd give it 4,5 stars if I could.
Sep 20, 2009 rated it liked it
a must read for living in Miami
Jun 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Funny collection of stories. There is humor to be found in every one.
Badgerdog Literary Publishing
Sep 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Would have given it 4.5 stars if that was possible.
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