Beautiful, haunting, surprising ... a very quick read, quite thought provoking. Very worthwhile.
Garcia has just come out with a new book-- Handbook to Luck-- so I wanted to read all of her earlier books. This one takes you from China to Cuba to the US and she does it so effortlessly. There are Chinese Cubans, so this is her tale of a family and how the cultures mix to form someone new. Great read, her economical use of words makes you imagine the story so easily, yet it's a quick read. Nicely done.
Once in awhile I try to learn something new so I picked up this audiobook from my library because it sounded interesting and was based on something I knew nothing about, the migration of Chinese to Cuba in the 1900s.
It starts out with the story of Chen Pan who decides to leave his family and his wife to make a better life for them all. The book then goes on to describe how he and his fellow passengers were misled and now destined for a future as slaves working on a sugarcane plantation. Strangely, as the story revealed misery upon misery I found myself a bit detached. This guy isnt terribly likable even if his story is intriguing. Apparently, because he never really loved his wife it is okay when he pays for sex and then decides never returns to the unloved wife or those who raised him and who may be worried. Though he suffers at the hands of the slave holders he doesnt seem to feel any guilt or remorse at his lack of morals for the things he does. This bugged me and it was hard to empathize with him since he was the catalyst for his own fate. He ends up succeeding through persistence and hard work and buys himself a slave of his own to love. I am swooning with the romance of it all. This book so far is missing the mark because I feel annoyed instead of emotionally involved.
The book then jumps forward rather abruptly to another relation living in New York and Im left a little confused. I dont know if Ill finish this book if I continue to remain disconnected from the characters.
Later: After reading several reviews I realize others had a similar experience and that the book does indeed continue in this way, skimming over the emotional impact of the events, so Im going to chuck it and start something else. Life's too short to struggle with books that aren't for me.