Cuban-Americans -- fiction

Monkey Hunting

By Cristina Garcia

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In 1857, when Chen Pan signs a contract that will take him from China “beyond the edge of the world to Cuba,” he has no idea that he will be enslaved on a sugarcane plantation . . . or that he will eventually, miraculously, escape his bonds and embark on a prosperous life in Havana’s Chinatown . . . or that he will buy a mulatto woman out of slavery and take her into his home and heart . . . or that he will end his long days in Havana, surrounded by children and grandchildren, as Cuban as he is Chinese.

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Luck of the Draw

By Carolina Garcia-Aguilera

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"Gambling runs through the blood of the Navarro family. And like the luck needed to score big, the Navarro clan will certainly need a lot of it, if they're going to hold themselves together through a hilariously highstakes game of family history and secrets. Having heard her entire life of the lost glory of La Estrella -- 'The Star,' the name of the casino the Navarro family owned in Havana before Castro took power -- Esmeralda thinks it a joke when her mother informs her and her siblings Sapphire, Ruby, and Quartz that the family has a duty to bring La Estrella back into existence.

"With a mandate given to her through a dream, the Navarro matriarch announces that in order for La Estrella to thrive once more, the family must be reunited in Miami. Only there's a hitch: the youngest daughter, Diamond, a journalist living in Las Vegas, is missing. The family must find a way to rescue her, not only in time to restore the family's lost business to its shimmering glory, but also to save Diamond's life."

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The Fourteen Sisters of Emilio Montez O'Brien

By Oscar Hijuelos

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"...brings to life the rambunctious Montez O'Brien family. The father, Nelson O'Brien, is an enterprising Irish immigrant who travels to Cuba as a photographer during the Spanish-American War in 1898, and there he meets his future wife, the sensitive, aristocratic, poetic Mariela Montez. As they are enroute to America in 1902, their first daughter, Margarita, whose reminiscences inform much of this novel's narrative, is born at sea. The Montez O'Briens settle in a small Pennsylvania town, where Nelson practices his photography trade and runs the Jewel Box Movie Theater, and Mariela gives birth to thirteen more daughters and then, finally, a son.

"As Margarita looks back on her long and full life, the novel recounts the lives, loves, and tragedies of the Montez O'Briens and their always complex relations with one another. It also follows Emilio through his days in Greenwich Village, the army, and Hollywood, where, as Monty O'Brien, he stars in grade-B detective and Tarzan movies and pals around with screen idols like Errol Flynn. Never altogether at peace in the overwhelming feminine world of his family, he searches restlessly for an elusive true love. And after an unhappy early marriage, Margarita herself finds the deepest passion of her life in extreme old age."

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In Cuba, I Was a German Shepherd

By Ana Menendez

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Pushcart Prize-winning author Ana Menendez offers intertwined short stories of Cuban immigrants adjusting to a new life and culture in Miami.
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