SCATTERING THE ASHES by María del Carmen Boza


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In her first book, Boza, who left Cuba as an exile at the age of six, chronicles how international politics and a rigid anticommunist father turned a smart little girl into a neurotic woman. Boza’s memoir is written in a hysterical poetic style peppered with references to her use of antidepressants and years of therapy. It deals largely with her relationship with her parents, and the family’s life in an unhappy exile in Miami. Yet little is revealed about her parents— point of view. In Boza’s eyes, her mother will always be a twit with bad taste, her father a fierce and doctrinaire patriarch. The managing editor of a newspaper in Havana, he was reduced to a low-level reporting job at the Associated Press after he fled to Miami. But his standing in the exile community made him a ministerial candidate in the provisional government that President John F. Kennedy hoped to install in Cuba. It was Kennedy’s betrayal of this provisional government and the volunteers who undertook the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 that triggered Boza’s father’s slow descent into insanity. Deflated by the realization that his family’s exile was permanent, he lived the rest of his life in angry despair, shouting at the TV news and ranting about the moral decay of the US, an d finally shot himself in the head in 1989. Exploring the events that drove her father crazy, Boza recounts some highlights of Cuban history. But we learn little about her father’s own activities in Havana and Miami. Instead, Boza offers readers details on his colon and related medical problems. Distressed that many Cuban exiles who fantasize about the death of Castro are dismissed as obsessive, Boza attempts to shed a more sympathetic light on the Cuban exile community. Instead, she offers evidence that some anti-Castro zealots are more than just a little crazy.

Pub Date: May 19th, 1998
ISBN: 0-927534-75-4
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Bilingual Review Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1998