Days of Awe
On New Year's Day 1959, as Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba, Alejandra San Jose was born in Havana, entering the world through the heart of revolution. Fearing the conflict and strife that bubbled up in the streets all around the new family, her parents took Ale and fled to the free shores of America.
Ale grew up in Chicago amid a close community of refugees who lived with the hope that one day Castro would fall and they could return to their Cuban homes. Though Ale was intrigued by the specter of Havana that colored her life as a child, her fascination eventually faded in her teens until all that remained was her profound respect for the intricacies of the Spanish language and the beautiful work her father did as a linguist and translator.
When her own job as an interpreter takes her back to Cuba, Ale is initially unmoved at the import of her return-- until she stumbles upon a surprising truth: the San Joses, ostensibly Catholics, are actually Jews. They are conversos who converted to Christianity during the Spanish Inquisition.
Enlightened by a whole new vision of her past and her culture, Ale makes her way back through San Jose history, uncovering new fragments of truth about the relatives who struggled with their own identities so long ago. Ale is finally lured back to Cuba to make amends with the ancestral demons still lurking there--to translate her father's troubling youthful experiences into the healing language of her Cuban American heart.
In beautiful, knowing prose, Achy Obejas opens up a fascinating world of exotic wordplay, rich history, and vibrant emotions. As Alejandra struggles to confront what it is to be Cuban and American, Catholic and Jewish, Obejasilluminates her journey and the tempestuous history of Cuba with intelligence and affection. Days of Awe is a lyrical and lovely novel from an author destined for literary renown.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - MichelleCH - LibraryThing
If the main character hadn't been so self-absorbed and whiny, I think I would have enjoyed the story more. The conflict between being Cuban and Jewish would have been made so much stronger without the ... Read full review
Review: Days of AweUser Review - Sean Hoskin - Goodreads
Visiting the inescapable question of identity, Obejas gives us characters assiduously striving to reconcile the known and previously unknown elements of cultural identity. The Americas are a ... Read full review