A heartfelt and intriguing story that offers readers a window into the Cuban diaspora.

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CUBAN EXILE

A slim debut memoir paints a portrait of one family’s escape from their Cuban home after Fidel Castro’s overthrow of the Batista government.

From the moment Castro “came down from the hills” in 1959 and took over Havana, middle-class Cubans began talking about fleeing. The brutality of the military’s systematic execution of anyone suspected of being a capitalist enemy of the new government created a climate of constant fear. In 1961, at the age of 7, Isidro was aware of some of the changes—“school had become less about learning and more about political indoctrination. There were no more songs and stories and childlike drawings filled with bright colors.” But beautiful, tropical Cuba was still her home. In September of that year, she and her parents stepped aboard a plane whisking them to Jamaica and a boardinghouse that would serve as a waystation before their trip to Miami. It was exciting and terrifying for the little girl, who would become a full-fledged American living in Stamford, Connecticut, never forgetting her Cuban roots. Her maternal grandparents would follow several months later and lived with them for the rest of their lives, re-creating a Cuban home in the cold North that brought the author comfort and some conflicts. The book opens in 2016, with Isidro looking back at her childhood, as she is about to visit Cuba for the first time in more than half a century. Through evocative prose, she captures the general immigrant experience of navigating a new country and culture as well as the tightrope she walked between acclimating to American life and trying to adhere to the traditions maintained at home. Most of all, she communicates in this tender, vibrant account the enduring love for her parents and grandparents and her appreciation of the hardships they endured to provide her with a safer life. Thinking of warm family celebrations, she writes: “I play some of them over in my mind, like vintage films, and watch the faces and smiles of those now long departed fade softly, like still frames in an aging reel.”

A heartfelt and intriguing story that offers readers a window into the Cuban diaspora.

Pub Date: June 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4834-6971-3

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Lulu

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2017

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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