Friday, November 16, 2007

Dreaming in Latin, Boxing for France

Photographer May Chou stopped by the shop today. It was good to see her. She took a look at our Day of the Dead Altar. We talked about the things a photographer and a book dealer might talk about. May got a new camera. I mumbled something about what I'd been reading.

"I've just finished Dreaming in Cuban," I said before I realized how silly that sounded.

May looked at me quizzically and decided I was talking about a book and not sleep.

"Oh," she said, "I heard about that book on Public Radio."

So the conversation proceeded. May had heard about Guillermo Vincente Vidal's memoir, Boxing for Cuba (Ghost Road Press, 2007). I was talking about Christina Garcia's first novel, Dreaming in Cuban (Ballentine, 1992).

I never quite got to say what I liked and didn't like about Garcia's book. (The topic shifted to the economy and Thanksgiving and local photographers.) Here's what I wanted to say:

Garcia's book is beautifully written. In the beginning, I had a hard time engaging, too many voices, too many threads left dangling. When Lourdes and Pilar returned to Cuba, the harmony of voices became apparent, the threads came together and the cloth was complete. The book made me consider America, how restless we are, how we keep looking for the homeland we left and the promised land we think we deserve. Language is a part of that restlessness. We dream in Spanish and French and German and Russian and speak in English or American or New York or Colorado.

I'm putting our copy of Dreaming in Cuban back on the shelf. You're welcome to come by and pick it up during open hours.

If you want a copy of Vidal's book, you can pick it up from Ghost Road Press.

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