Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy

Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy Review

In 1962, at the age of eleven, Carlos Eire was one of 14,000 children airlifted out of Cuba, his parents left behind. His life until then is the subject of Waiting for Snow in Havana, a wry, heartbreaking, intoxicatingly beautiful memoir of growing up in a privileged Havana household -- and of being exiled from his own childhood by the Cuban revolution.

That childhood, until his world changes, is as joyous and troubled as any other -- but with exotic differences. Lizards roam the house and grounds. Fights aren't waged with snowballs but with breadfruit. The rich are outlandishly rich, like the eight-year-old son of a sugar baron who has a real miniature race car, or the neighbor with a private animal garden, complete with tiger. All this is bathed in sunlight and shades of turquoise and tangerine: the island of Cuba, says one of the stern monks at Carlos's school, might have been the original Paradise -- and it is tempting to believe.

His father is a municipal judge and an obsessive collector of art and antiques, convinced that in a past life he was Louis XVI and that his wife was Marie Antoinette. His mother looks to the future; conceived on a transatlantic liner bound for Cuba from Spain, she wants her children to be modern, which means embracing all things American. His older brother electrocutes lizards. Surrounded by eccentrics, in a home crammed with portraits of Jesus that speak to him in dreams and nightmares, Carlos searches for secret proofs of the existence of God.

Then, in January 1959, President Batista is suddenly gone, a cigar-smoking guerrilla named Castro has taken his place, and Christmas is canceled. The echo of firingsquads is everywhere. At the Aquarium of the Revolution, sharks multiply in a swimming pool. And one by one, the author's schoolmates begin to disappear -- spirited away to the United States. Carlos will end up there himself, alone, never to see his father again.

Narrated with the urgency of a confession, Waiting for Snow in Havana is both an exorcism and an ode to a paradise lost. More than that, it captures the terrible beauty of those times in our lives when we are certain we have died -- and then are somehow, miraculously, reborn.

Title:Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy
Edition Language:English

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    Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy Reviews

  • Abby

    Newly arrived in a city and state where I know virtually no one, my immediate inclination is to seek out the readers. Sure enough, there are book clubs at the library, in bookstores, in the adult lear...

  • Jill

    This is the true story of Carlos Eire, professor of History and Religious Studies at Yale University. Paraphrase of book:I have a great story to tell. Why, you ask. Is it because it deals with the rev...

  • Paul Schulzetenberg

    Full disclosure: The author of this book is a family friend, and although I wouldn't say that I know him well, I have met him a few times.Some people have fascinating stories to tell. Some people are ...

  • Christine Schaffer

    This was one of the worst books I have read in quite some time. I had hoped to learn more about the overthrow of Batista and the rise of Castro and the Revolution, but instead had to plow through the ...

  • Carlos

    As the son of two Cuban-Americans driven from their homeland by a tragic communist revolution, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. In response to the constant pestering by my mother to read it, I finally ...

  • Mary

    In 1962 Carlos Eire was one of 14,000 children airlifted out of Cuba-exiled from his family at age 11. The Cuban revolution took away his family, his beloved country, his friends, and, most importantl...

  • Becky

    Every student going into their sophomore year at my son's high school must read this book over the summer. I like keeping up with what my kids are reading, so I read it too. I would like to hear why t...

  • Rob

    My dad is a Cuban refugee and was part of the Pedro Pan lift. He left Cuba with his older sister when he was 9. My grandfather was one of the chiefs of police in Havana and was imprisoned by the Commu...

  • Hai Quan

    If you don't know what is CARGOISM, please consult a dictionary. I did, and if I am not remember or understand it incorrectly, it means a passion for material largess dropping down from the sky by US ...

  • Nicole Means

    I wanted to like this book--I really did!! However, the author's attempt at writing did not agree with me. His overly verbose descriptions of clouds, his constant pseudonym use for his parents, and hi...