The Wise Women of Havana

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9780066211237: The Wise Women of Havana

Set against the exotic background of Cuba in 1938, The Wise Women of Havana is the deeply moving, lyrical, and yet earthy story of three remarkable women whose lives are suddenly intricately intertwined.

When Marguita, a beautiful and voluptuous young girl, marries Lorenzo, they find their dream home in a cozy apartment in Havana. But that dream is soon shattered. Lorenzo's once-wealthy parents, now in dire need of financial help because of the Great Depression, force the newlyweds to move into the family's crumbling mansion with them. Marguita is hardly settled with her in-laws when Lorenzo's older sister, the spinster Lolo, behaves in a shocking way toward the young couple, seriously injuring Marguita's sense of honor and causing a dangerous rift between the two. In despair, Marguita flees to her mother, Dolores, a truly Wise woman, whose love, generosity, and resourcefulness provide the glue that promises to mend the break.

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About the Author:

José Raúl Bernardo is the author of two previous novels: Silent Wing, elected as one of the Best Works of Fiction in 1998 by the Los Angeles Times Book Review, and The Secret of the Bulls, now available in seven languages. A renaissance man, José Raúl Bernardo is also a celebrated architect, poet, and a noted composer whose award-winning symphonic works have been heard all over the world. He now makes his home in the Catskill Mountains of New York.

From Publishers Weekly:

A schematic, preachy family drama plays out against the backdrop of pre-WWII Cuba in this well-intentioned but leaden novel by Bernardo (The Secret of the Bulls). When Lorenzo and Marguita marry in 1938, even balmy Havana is feeling the effects of the Great Depression. To help Lorenzo's parents make ends meet, the couple agree to rent a room in their Old Havana house, but the night they move in, Marguita catches Lol", Lorenzo's 31-year-old sister, spying on the couple in bed. Horrified, Marguita and Lorenzo move immediately, renting a house near Marguita's parents, in a poorer neighborhood. Marguita refuses to forgive the miserable Lol", who is saddled with a virginity she finds impossible to shed in conservative prewar Cuba. When Marguita has a son, Lol" becomes even more envious. Fortune smiles on her at last or so she believes when she attends a party thrown by Lorenzo's employer, a bookstore owner who owns a beach club east of Havana. As she walks alone along the edge of the sea, she comes upon another party guest, the young Father Alonso, stretched out naked under a tree on a deserted strip of beach. These two enthusiastically rid themselves of their sexual anxieties and their virginities. For Lol", pregnancy ensues; for Father Alonso, a crisis of vocation. Lol"'s hidden pregnancy is paralleled by Marguita's, whose second child is looking like an unaffordable luxury. Should she abort it? Ra#l has produced an exercise in unabashed tropical schmaltz, plagued with squirm-inducing euphemisms ("like all virgins, [Lol"] is afraid of the unicorn of man"), stiff dialogue and awkward plotting. 5-city author tour. (Feb. 19) Habana ($13.95 paper 384p ISBN 0-06-093616-9).-- is afraid of the unicorn of man"), stiff dialogue and awkward plotting. 5-city author tour. (Feb. 19) Habana ($13.95 paper 384p ISBN 0-06-093616-9).
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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