Showing posts with label Cuban exile. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cuban exile. Show all posts

Friday, May 08, 2015

#FridayReads: Sofrito by Phillippe Diederich

Sofrito by Phillippe Diederich:

A Cuban-American travels to Havana searching for a secret recipe where he finds love and the truth about his father.


"In this entertaining debut novel, Frank Delgado tries to save his failing restaurant by returning to Cuba, his dead father's homeland, to get ahold of a top-secret chicken recipe. But there is more than delicious chicken at stake here. Food is the road home-geographically, emotionally, metaphorically. Peppered with cooking advice from chefs, ordinary folks, and celebrities including Fidel Castro himself (an advocate of pork), Phillipe Diederich's Sofrito is a love letter to the deepest recesses of nostalgia's heart."-Cristina Garcia, author of Dreaming in Cuban and King of Cuba

Frank Delgado is no thief. He co-owns a failing Cuban restaurant in Manhattan's Upper East Side. The restaurant, like Frank, is rudderless. Lost. He decides he'll save the restaurant by traveling to Cuba to steal the legendary chicken recipe from the famed El Ajillo restaurant in Havana. The recipe is a state secret, so prized that no cook knows the whole recipe. But Frank's rationale is ironclad-Fidel stole the secret from his family, so he will steal it back. He will triumphantly bring that recipe back to Manhattan and turn his fortunes around.

Frank has no interest in Cuba. His parents fled after the Revolution. His dead father spent his life erasing all traces of Cuba from his heart with barbeques, television, lawn mowing and alcohol. So Frank is not prepared for the real Cuba. Sure, he gets beat up and almost killed, the secret service threatens him, but in the midst of the chaos, he falls in love with a prostitute and the city, and he unwraps the heroic story of his parents' life. Cuba begins to bind Frank together, the way a good sofrito binds the flavors of a Cuban dish.

Phillippe Diederich is a Haitian-American writer. Born in the Dominican Republic, he was raised in Mexico City and Miami. His parents were kicked out of Haiti by the dictatorship of Papa Doc Duvalier in 1963. He spent his youth listening to his parents and friends talking politics and nostalgically dreaming of the day they would return to Haiti. In 1980, the family moved to Miami, where they joined a community of exiles from all parts of Latin America-Cuba, Chile, Argentina, Nicaragua, El Salvador. Like other children of exiles, Diederich grew up without his relatives-grandparents, cousins, uncles, aunts.

Diederich traveled repeatedly to Cuba as a photojournalist throughout the 1990s. He has an MFA in creative writing from the University of South Florida and lives in Florida. This is his first novel.

Friday, September 26, 2014

#FridayReads: The Prince of los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood by Richard Blanco

A poignant, hilarious, and inspiring memoir from the first Latino and openly gay inaugural poet, which explores his coming-of-age as the child of Cuban immigrants and his attempts to understand his place in America while grappling with his burgeoning artistic and sexual identities.

Richard Blanco’s childhood and adolescence were experienced between two imaginary worlds: his parents’ nostalgic world of 1950s Cuba and his imagined America, the country he saw on reruns of The Brady Bunch and Leave it to Beaver—an “exotic” life he yearned for as much as he yearned to see “la patria.”

Navigating these worlds eventually led Blanco to question his cultural identity through words; in turn, his vision as a writer—as an artist—prompted the courage to accept himself as a gay man. In this moving, contemplative memoir, the 2013 inaugural poet traces his poignant, often hilarious, and quintessentially American coming-of-age and the people who influenced him.

A prismatic and lyrical narrative rich with the colors, sounds, smells, and textures of Miami, Richard Blanco’s personal narrative is a resonant account of how he discovered his authentic self and ultimately, a deeper understanding of what it means to be American. His is a singular yet universal story that beautifully illuminates the experience of “becoming;” how we are shaped by experiences, memories, and our complex stories: the humor, love, yearning, and tenderness that define a life. 

Richard Blanco was born in Madrid in 1968 and immigrated as an infant with his Cuban-exile family to New York, then Miami, where he was raised and educated, earning a BS in civil engineering and an MFA in creative writing. An accomplished author, engineer, and educator, Blanco is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and has received honorary doctorates from Macalester College, Colby College, and the University of Rhode Island. Following in the footsteps of such great writers as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou, in 2013 Blanco was chosen as the fifth inaugural poet of the United States, becoming the youngest, first Latino, first immigrant, and first gay writer to hold the honor. 

His prizewinning books include City of a Hundred Fires, Directions to the Beach of the Dead, Looking for The Gulf Motel, and For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet's Journey. His awards include the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press, the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center, the Patterson Poetry Prize, and the Thom Gunn Award.

Monday, May 27, 2013

2013 Book List: What you should read this summer

No matter your preference, here is a summer reading list to whet every bookish apetite:

The House of Impossible Loves By Cristina Lopez Barrio
An “exuberant” debut novel of a family bound by searing passions, an earthy magic, and a very unusual curse

Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail by Rubén Martínez 
Hailed as "valuable," "passionate," and "terrific," Crossing Over puts a human face on the phenomenon of Mexican immigration and the vibrant Latino culture it introduces to the U.S., and remains a beautifully written classic of our time.

The Honest Life: Living Naturally and True to You by Jessica Alba 
The Honest Life recounts Alba’s personal journey of discovery and reveals her tips for making healthy living fun, real, and stylish, while offering a candid look inside her home and daily life.

King of Cuba: A Novel by Cristina Garcia
Vivid and alive, Cristina García’s new novel transports readers to Cuba, to Miami, and into the heads of two larger-than-life men—a fictionalized Fidel Castro and an octogenarian Cuban exile obsessed with seeking revenge against the dictator.

A Crack in the Wall By Claudia Pineiro
Claudia Piñeiro once again demonstrates her capacity to reveal the things hidden behind the facades of our existence; human relationships based on habit and cowardice, rather than love; on excessive ambition and personal gain, rather than morality.

Soccer in Sun and Shadow By Eduardo Galeano 
Soccer is a game that bureaucrats try to dull and the powerful try to manipulate, but it retains its magic because it remains a bewitching game—“a feast for the eyes ... and a joy for the body that plays it”—exquisitely rendered in the magical stories of Soccer in Sun and Shadow.

Barbecued Husbands: And Other Stories From The Amazon By Betty Mindlin 
Reading like a novel, this is an oral history suffused with magic realism.The stories recounted in Barbecued Husbands are as old as humanity: love and hate, jealousy and revenge, life after death, totems and taboos, erotic solitude, romantic love, mothers and daughters, masculinity.

Tattoo By Manuel Vazquez Montalban 
In a Spain still stifled under the rule of Franco, former CIA operative--and former Commnist--Pepe Carvalho has become so cynical he seems to care about nothing except food and sex. He's even taken to burning the occasional book in his Barcelona apartment, just so he can have a fire going in the fireplace when he eats some bacalhao. But when he sees the cops bungling a case he's hired to investigate--that of a body pulled out of the sea--he's roused by a sense of injustice.

The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese By Michael Paterniti
A moving exploration of happiness, friendship, and betrayal, The Telling Room introduces us to Ambrosio Molinos de las Heras, an unforgettable real-life literary hero, while also holding a mirror up to the world, fully alive to the power of stories that define and sustain us.

Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You: Busting Myths about Human Nature By Agustín Fuentes
Presenting scientific evidence from diverse fields, including anthropology, biology, and psychology, Fuentes devises a myth-busting toolkit to dismantle persistent fallacies about the validity of biological races, the innateness of aggression and violence, and the nature of monogamy and differences between the sexes.

Shut Up, You're Welcome: Thoughts on Life, Death, and Other Inconveniences By Annie Choi 
Each of Choi’s personal essays begins with an open letter to someone (babies) or something (the San Fernando Valley) she has a beef with.
 
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