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Broken paradise : a novel
Cecilia Samartin
Adult Fiction SAMARTI

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In her interesting but flawed debut, Samartin explores the contrasting fates of two young women after the Cuban revolution-Nora Garc!a, who escapes to the United States with her family, and her cousin Alicia, who stays behind. The novel is strongest in its first section, which renders the cousins' idyllic and privileged childhood in pre-Castro Havana. The portrayal of Nora and Alicia's friendship is convincing, especially in Nora's simultaneous devotion to her more confident and beautiful cousin. Their time on the beach and at their great-aunt's sugarcane plantation give way to the bombs, televised executions and panic of the revolution. After Nora and her family escape, settling in California, the cousins maintain their friendship over two decades through letters as intimate as their girlhood conversations. Nora returns to Cuba in 1981 to find her childhood Eden destroyed and a very ill Alicia, who has resorted to prostitution to support herself and her daughter, suffering from "the virus." Glaring historical inaccuracies and a hokey climax undermine Nora's return to Cuba, though the book's first half is powerfully realized. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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main characters Nora Garcia
Cuban American
Escapes the Cuban Revolution with her family; goes to the United States; devoted to her cousin; writes letters to Alicia for two decades; returns to her homeland to find Alicia.

Nora's cousin; stays behind after the Cuban Revolution; turned to prostitution to support herself and her daughter.

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