By Cecilia Samartin Introduction
reveals the pain of political turmoil when two cousins, Nora and Alicia, take very different paths following the Cuban revolution. Accustomed to living among Havana's privileged class -- lavish dinners, days at the beach, dances, and dresses -- their idyllic lives take a turn for the worse after Castro's rise to power. Food becomes scarce, religion is forbidden, and disease is rampant. Alicia stays behind while Nora emigrates to America and struggles in an unfamiliar land. Both of their identities are challenged as they try to adapt to the changes forced upon them. The situation in Cuba deteriorates, and Alicia is beset by bad fortune, while Nora painfully assimilates into middle-class US culture. Her heart, however, remains in Cuba. Letters between the cousins track their lives until Alicia finds herself in such dire straits that Nora is forced to return and help. What she finds in Cuba is devastating.
In , Samartin offers heart-wrenching insight into the tender balance between optimism and grief that shapes the immigrant heart. How can one find peace and belonging when one's sense of home is so dichotomized? This story involves reflection about home and country regardless of where they may be. Group Discussion Questions
1. Samartin tells the story of the Cuban revolution through the eyes of Nora, who is a