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In his 2003 National Book Award-winning memoir Waiting for Snow in Havana, Carlos Eire narrated his coming of age in Cuba just before and during the Castro revolution. That book literally ends in midair as eleven-year-old Carlos and his older brother leave Havana on an airplane--along with thousands of other children--to begin their new life in Miami in 1962. It would be years before he would see his mother again. He would never again see his beloved father. Learning to Die in Miami opens as the plane lands and Carlos faces, with trepidation and excitement, his new life. He quickly realizes that in order for his new American self to emerge, his Cuban self must "die." And so, with great enterprise and purpose, he begins his journey. We follow Carlos as he adjusts to life in his new home. Faced with learning English, attending American schools, and an uncertain future, young Carlos confronts the age-old immigrant's plight: being surrounded by American bounty, but not able to partake right away. The abundance America has to offer excites him and, regardless of how grim his living situation becomes, he eagerly forges ahead with his own personal assimilation program, shedding the vestiges of his old life almost immediately, even changing his name to Charles. Cuba becomes a remote and vague idea in the back of his mind, something he used to know well, but now it "had ceased to be part of the world." But as Carlos comes to grips with his strange surroundings, he must also struggle with everyday issues of growing up. His constant movement between foster homes and the eventual realization that his parents are far away in Cuba bring on an acute awareness that his life has irrevocably changed. Flashing back and forth between past and future, we watch as Carlos balances the divide between his past and present homes and finds his way in this strange new world, one that seems to hold the exhilarating promise of infinite possibilities and one that he will eventually claim as his own. An exorcism and an ode, Learning to Die in Miami is a celebration of renewal--of those times when we're certain we have died and then are somehow, miraculously, reborn.
En su libro de memorias Nieve en La Habana, el cual ganó el Premio Nacional del Libro en 2003, Carlos Eire narra su niñez en Cuba en la época del triunfo de la revolución y la llegada al poder de Fidel Castro. Esa historia termina en 1962, en el avión que lleva a Carlos y a su hermano desde La Habana a Miami para comenzar una nueva vida, como sucedió a miles de niños cubanos. Pasarían años antes de que Carlos volviera a ver a su madre. Y nunca más volvería a ver a su padre, por quien sentía una verdadera devoción. Miami y Mis Mil Muertes sigue el cuento en el momento en que aquel avión aterriza y Carlos comienza una nueva vida impulsado por sus miedos y esperanzas. Enseguida se da cuenta de que para llegar a ser americano tendrá que "morir" el Carlos cubano que hasta ahora ha sido. Se enfrenta al eterno dilema del inmigrante que debe aprender inglés, ir a una escuela americana y descifrar un futuro incierto: está en el país de las oportunidades, pero aún no es capaz de aprovecharlas. A pesar de la dura realidad de los hogares adoptivos donde ha de vivir, el muchacho se abre paso, dejando atrás cualquier vestigio de su vida pasada hasta el punto de cambiar su nombre y convertirse en Charles. Miami y Mis Mil Muertes es un exorcismo y una oda a esa experiencia, es un homenaje a la renovación, a los momentos de la vida en que tenemos la certeza de haber muerto y, de alguna manera milagrosa, haber vuelto a nacer.
What is eternity? Is it anything other than a purely abstract concept, totally unrelated to our lives? A mere hope? A frightfully uncertain horizon? Or is it a certainty, shared by priest and scientist alike, and an essential element in all human relations?InA Very Brief History of Eternity, Carlos Eire, the historian and National Book Award-winning author ofWaiting for Snow in Havana, has written a brilliant history of eternity in Western culture. Tracing the idea from ancient times to the present, Eire examines the rise and fall of five different conceptions of eternity, exploring how they developed and how they have helped shape individual and collective self-understanding. A book about lived beliefs and their relationship to social and political realities,A Very Brief History of Eternityis also about unbelief, and the tangled and often rancorous relation between faith and reason. Its subject is the largest subject of all, one that has taxed minds great and small for centuries, and will forever be of human interest, intellectually, spiritually, and viscerally.
"Have mercy on me, Lord, I am Cuban." In 1962, Carlos Eire was one of 14,000 children airlifted out of Havana--exiled from his family, his country, and his own childhood by Fidel Castro's revolution. This stunning memoir is a vibrant and evocative look at Latin America from a child's unforgettable experience.<P><P> Waiting for Snow in Havana is both an exorcism and an ode to a paradise lost. For the Cuba of Carlos's youth--with its lizards and turquoise seas and sun-drenched siestas--becomes an island of condemnation once a cigar-smoking guerrilla named Fidel Castro ousts President Batista on January 1, 1959. Suddenly the music in the streets sounds like gunfire. Christmas is made illegal, political dissent leads to imprisonment, and too many of Carlos's friends are leaving Cuba for a place as far away and unthinkable as the United States. Carlos will end up there, too, and fulfill his mother's dreams by becoming a modern American man--even if his soul remains in the country he left behind.<P> Narrated with the urgency of a confession, Waiting for Snow in Havana is a eulogy for a native land and a loving testament to the collective spirit of Cubans everywhere.<P> Winner of the National Book Award
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