Where has this book been all my life? I was in the excellent Women and Children First bookstore recently and asked them to recommend something local. They gave me this book. It tells the amazing story of Ale, who was taken by her parents away from Cuba on the day of her birth (New Year’s Day, 1959) and to the United States. But as much as she and her family – to various degrees – to leave Cuba and their Jewishness – behind, they can never escape it. Obejas weaves narrative with history and commentary so deftly that more than once I looked to make sure this book was, in fact, a novel. Its authenticity cannot be doubted.
Then, with the start of Chapter 28 – “Water has its own language” – the writing goes up another notch and makes this one of the most unusual and wonderful books I’ve read. Similar to Lahiri, Obejas explores here what it means to be in between – countries, cultures, religions, sexuality, etc..
Women and Children First bookstore