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My first Libby Fischer Hellmann audiobook-it won't be my last. A fascinating story arc from the late 1950s pre Cuban embargo-historically correct-I went to Cuba on a family vacation in the late 1950s. For a 16 year old California girl, Havana was even more wild than Hollywood. And the surfing was better too. Cuba was a beautiful land with pre revolutionary rumblings that finally frightened all the NorteAmericanos out.
Details the lives of 2 strong women who couldn't rely on the men in their lives; they took care of themselves, alone and pregnant..(pre birth control). This book was superior in detailing how some people just don't learn---Frankie,the willful 17 year North American girl, raised in Cuba who was torn from her lovers arms, pregnant with his child and forced to marry a cold older unloving man, remained willful as a senior citizen-in charge of the 'company'. Her daughter in law, Carla,a doctor in cuba was a nobody in America. She had the strength to repeat medical school when circumstances found her in Chicago, pregnant and broke and. finally, the young grand daughter and daughter who got caught up in the intricate manipulations of grand mother..It brought back to mind how controlled women were pre birth control when women got pregnant easily and had no control over their lives. The birth control pill didn't come out until the early 1960s and what a huge difference that made in the lives of women all over the world.
I wished this book would have been longer! I think Hellmann could have really gotten deeper into the character development. These were women I liked, for all their flaws and it ended with me wanting to know more about them and what happened when.....(no spoilers here) As it is, it's over 10 hours, but I didn't want it to end. I'd like to see a sequel to the book-there were some cliff-hangers that could be developed nicely (Hint-hint).
I listen to this book straight thru..began it at 9PM-fell asleep to it about 1AM... Thank goodness for my iPad sleep setting..I dreamt about Havana, woke up at 6AM and turned it back on again and listened almost all day until it was finished. For me, "Havana Lost" really got into my brain! A definite listen again and well worth your credit, if action and strong women protagonists are to your liking.
I received this book free from the author for a fair review..she gained a listener! Thanks Libby!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Thank goodness for Libby Fischer Hellmann. She loves the study of history so much that she can even enthrall a historiphobe like me. Fans of the historical fiction genre will love "Havana Lost," because of its pitch-perfect depictions of the historical time (spanning the Cuban revolution to the present day); and historiphobes will love "Havana Lost," because of how painlessly -- even, at times, pleasurably -- it teaches us about a significant period of recent history. Even though I, myself, lived through this time period -- as an adult, mind you -- I had little interest in the profound changes that were taking place in Cuba. I learned a lot from listening to "Havana Lost!"
Throughout this novel runs a theme of 𝘳𝒆𝘴o𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘳, a Spanish word meaning something like: "Doing whatever it takes to stay alive." Hellmann does not spare us merciless depictions of the poverty that the Cuban people have been enduring for the past half-century, thanks to a glorious revolution that was supposed to "free" them. As I listened to "Havana Lost," I kept remembering the wonderful 1999 film, "Buena Vista Social Club," in which jazz guitarist Ry Cooder documented the amazing musicians who have emerged from this Cuban crucible. If you have not yet seen this movie, and you are thinking of purchasing "Havana Lost," I recommend that you rent, buy, or borrow "Buena Vista Social Club" -- not only because it will provide you with visual references to the Havana locales depicted in "Havana Lost," but also because it illustrates the truly profound meaning of Cuban 𝘳𝒆𝘴o𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘳. These remarkable musicians have -- against all odds -- pursued their art throughout incredibly difficult lives, despite politics, repression, and poverty. "Havana Lost" does not deal with Cuban music; but it demonstrates the same spirit of perseverance through hard times: 𝘳𝒆𝘴o𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘳.
The narrators of "Havana Lost" do an adequate -- if not stellar -- job of reading "Havana Lost." Although the story lends itself to narration by two actors -- on male and one female -- I think that this book deserved better actors. The male actor -- James C. Lewis -- sounds too old for most the parts that he narrates; and the female actor -- Diane Perone-Gelman -- sounds too young for most of her characters. Neither actor does an outstanding job of distinguishing the characters from one another through voice and accent changes. However, the quality of writing and story-telling overshadow any slight shortcomings in the narration. I recommend "Havana Lost" pretty much unconditionally.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful