Dreaming in Cuban

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

DREAMING IN CUBAN dramatizes the profound interconnections among three generations of Cuban women. Their memories, dreams and hopes are gradually revealed and interlinked, and the importance to them of Cuba and what it means to be Cuban is explored.

For Celia del Pino, her three children, and her grandchildren, Cuba is a complex construct of memories and realities. Celia’s story frames the novel; sets of her unmailed monthly letters to her first love, a Spaniard who returned to Spain in 1935 just before the Spanish Civil War, are included at regular intervals throughout the book, in chronological order. The novel is structured as Celia’s transmission to her granddaughter Pilar of all she knows. The family members are introduced in the immediate present of 1972 and their various stories gradually mesh and explain each other as they recount the events of the next eight years.

Various points of view toward the Cuban Revolution of 1959 are represented by family members. Celia is an enthusiastic supporter of Fidel Castro (El Lider in the book): She volunteers for sugar cane harvesting and vaccination campaigns, keeps watch over her stretch of the coast, and serves as a civilian judge in a people’s court. One of her daughters has stayed in Havana but is indifferent to politics, her son is an avid backer of Communism and has gone to live in Czechoslovakia, and her other daughter, for whom the Revolution meant rape and dispossession, has gone into bitter exile in Brooklyn. It is young Pilar who connects these disparate views.

The novel is full of the specific realities of Cuban experience, from food rationing to idealism. But it is primarily about the fragile balance between passion and obsession. Magic and imagination and historical reality fuse in the musical rhythms of DREAMING IN CUBAN.


America. CLXVII, July 18, 1992, p. 39. A review of Dreaming in Cuban.

Belles Lettres. VIII, Fall, 1992, p. 15. A review of Dreaming in Cuban.

Boswell, Thomas D. The Cuban American Experience: Culture, Images and Perspectives. Totowa, N.J.: Rowman and Allanheld, 1984.

The Christian Science Monitor. March 24, 1992, p. 13. A review of Dreaming in Cuban.

Davis, Thulani. “Fidel Castro Between Them: Dreaming in Cuban.” The New York Times Book Review, May 17, 1992, 14.

Eder, Richard. “Cuban Revolution Tugs on Family Ties.”...

(The entire section is 1034 words.)