In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd

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Grove/Atlantic, Inc., Dec 1, 2007 - Fiction - 240 pages
2 Reviews
Pushcart Prize winner Ana Menendez landed firmly in the literary landscape last year with the hardcover publication of In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd. Reviewers overwhelmingly agree that she is an important new voice in American fiction: hers is "a bright debut that points to even brighter accomplishments to come" (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times), a tour de force that is "poignant and varied, emotionally vivid and hauntingly melancholy" (San Francisco Chronicle), and "a Cuban odyssey that conjures up Eugene O'Neill-like drama" (Kirkus Reviews). In these linked tales about the Cuban-American experience and the immigrant experience in general, Ana Menendez has instantly established herself as a natural storyteller who "probes with steady humor and astute political insight the dreams versus the realities of her characters" (Elle). From the prizewinning title story -- a masterpiece of humor and heartbreak -- unfolds a series of family snapshots that illuminate the landscape of an exiled community rich in heritage, memory, and longing for the past. In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd is at once "tender and sharp-fanged" (L.A. Weekly) as Ana Menendez charts the territory from Havana to Coral Gables with unforgettable passion and explores whether any of us are capable, or even truly desirous, of outrunning our origins. "Achingly wise." -- Richard Eder, the New York Times Book Review "Menendez taps into [a] wellspring of broken promises and unfulfilled desires and gives us a ... peek at ... the Cuban-American experience." -- Ariel Gonzalez, The Miami Herald "Menendez offers a lilting narrative that sways soulfully between past and present, longing and regret, joy and tragedy." -- Donna Rifkind, The Baltimore Sun "Superb ... The community that emerges in these pages is one of humor, acute grief, and gifted storytelling." -- Fionn Meade, The Seattle Times "The first work of a young writer with a bright future." -- Jay Goldin, Fort Worth Morning Star-Telegram "A tender and occasionally sharp-fanged portrait of Miami's Cuban-exile community ... Brave and funny and true." -- Ben Ehrenreich, L.A. Weekly "A raucous, heartfelt debut...Deft, talented and hilarious...." -- Junot Diaz

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - agnesmack - LibraryThing

A few months ago, I posted in one book community or another, asking for recommendations of Cuban authors. At last count I've read more than 30 non-fiction books involving Cuban history and/or politics ... Read full review


User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A debut collection from Miami Herald reporter Menéndez: interconnected stories about Cuban exiles' feelings of displacement in Miami. In "In Cuba," four elderly men, two Cuban and two Dominican, meet ... Read full review

Selected pages


Hurricane Stories
The Perfect Fruit
Why We Left
Story of a Parrot
Confusing the Saints
Baseball Dreams
The Last Rescue
Miami Relatives
The Party
Her Mothers House

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Page 3 - ... one-half imbecile. But really it was that no one plays to lose. You begin to lose again and again and it reminds you of other things in your life, the despair of it all begins to bleed through and that is not what games are for. Who wants to live their whole life alongside the lucky? But Maximo and Raul liked these blessed Dominicans, appreciated the well-oiled moves of two old pros. And if the two Dominicans, afraid to be alone again, let them win now and then, who would know, who could ever...
Page 1 - A good one, my friend." Carlos laughed long and loud. Antonio laughed too, but he was careful to not laugh too hard and he gave his friend a sharp look over the racket he was causing. He and Carlos were Dominican, not Cuban, and they ate their same foods and played their same games, but Antonio knew they still didn't understand all the layers of hurt in the Cubans
Page 11 - Calm down, hombre," Carlos said, opening his arms wide, a nervous giggle beginning in his throat. "What's gotten into you?" Antonio waved his hand and sat down. A diesel truck rattled down Eighth Street, headed for downtown. "My daughter is a district attorney in Los Angeles," Maximo said after the noise of the truck died. "December is one of the busiest months.
Page 2 - Avenue. At Domino Park, he sat with Raul and they played alone that first day, Maximo noticing his own speckled hands, the spots of light through the banyan leaves, a round red beetle that crawled slowly across the table, then hopped the next breeze and floated away. Antonio and Carlos were not Cuban, but they knew when to dump their heavy pieces and when to hold back the eights for the final shocking stroke. Waiting for a table, Raul and Maximo would linger beside them and watch them lay their traps,...
Page 3 - Waiting for a table, Raul and Maximo would linger beside them and watch them lay their traps, a succession of threes that broke their opponents, an incredible run of fives. Even the unthinkable: passing when they had the piece to play. Other twosomes began to refuse to play with the Dominicans, said that tipo Carlos gave them the creeps with his giggling and monosyllables. Besides, any team that won so often must be cheating, went the charge, especially a team one-half imbecile. But really it was...

References to this book

About the author (2007)

Ana Menéndez is the daughter of Cuban exiles who fled to Los Angeles in the 1960s and married a few months after meeting at a Cuban social club in Glendale. Menéndez worked as a journalist for six years, first at The Miami Herald, where she covered Little Havana, and later with The Orange County Register in California. She is a graduate of NYU's creative writing program, where she was a New York Times fellow. In Cuba I
Was a German Shepherd has been translated into eight languages.

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