I gave you all I had: a novel

Front Cover
Arcade Pub., Jun 3, 1999 - Fiction - 238 pages
0 Reviews
I Gave You All I Had introduces Cuca Martinez - a.k.a. Cuquita, Cuchita, the Girl - the youngest child in a brood of five, born in prerevolutionary Cuba to a flighty would-be actress and a Chinese enthusiast of New World riches upon whom fortune has consistently failed to smile. At sixteen, she heads for Havana in search of work.
There, a pair of strumpets named La Mechanga and La Puchanga introduce her to the sweet mischief of nighttime Havana, in which she meets Juan, the love of her life - only to see him disappear for eight years. When Juan resurfaces on the eve of the Revolution, Cuca believes her dreams are finally to be realized, but the political climate and Juan's shady dealings force him into hasty exile in America.
And so Cuca, like Cuba itself, waits. She waits for the promised dreams - of happiness, of plenty, of joy, of love - to arrive, and watches her country slide into a barren, repressive slumber. And while she waits, Cuca and her friends struggle, in the midst of those shattered dreams, to survive: they improvise, they scavenge, they make love, they remember, and above all, they talk.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review


User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

I Gave You All I Had ($24.95; Nov.; 256 pp.;1-55970-477-2): A wonderful second novel from the Cuban-born author of Yocandra in the Paradise of Nada (1997) builds an impressive picture of Havana before ... Read full review


Section 1
Section 2
Section 3

11 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1999)

Born in Havana, Zoe Valdes lives in exile in Paris with her husband and daughter. Her earlier novel, Yocandra in the Paradise of Nada, was published by Arcade in 1997. I Gave You All I Hadwas a finalist for the Planeta Prize, Spain's most prestigious literary award.

Benabid grew up in Tangier, Morocco, and now lives in the United States, where she is a translator.

Bibliographic information