Books

 

Explore the history of the Cuban Revolution through the eyes of Yolanda Ortal-Miranda, a Cuban-born author who survived the Cuban Revolution and takeover of Fidel Castro.
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Books-When The Dolphins CryWhen The Dolphins Cry: Escaping Cuba

English Edition. In this engrossing, two-part novel, which weaves together fact and fiction, Yolanda Ortal-Miranda brings to center stage one of the tragic but generally under-reported results of the Cuban Revolution: the steady exodus by sea of thousands of Cubans, desperate for freedom and at the breaking point in their ability to tolerate the stifling tyranny of the Castro regime. The plot is gripping, and the characters are colorful, fascinating and endearing. Through them, we see the realities of life in post-Revolution Cuba and the enduring quest to live where there is freedom and respect for human rights. As the novel opens, the reader is immediately transported to Cuba–a parallel, but third world, universe just 90 miles from American shores. The year is 1970, and the story is true. Rafael, a determined young man, is cutting cane at a People’s Farm, hating every minute of the cruel, obligatory servitude that has been thrust on him by the government. After unsuccessful attempts to leave legally, he and his three brothers decide to swim across the dangerous waters of Guantanamo Bay, in the dark of night, to seek political asylum at the U.S. Naval Base. Will they succeed? The characters of Part II are fictional stereotypes of the following generation, whose desperation to be free, no less than those who came before, gives them the courage to defy nature and the Cuban government by crossing the perilous, shark-infested Straits of Florida in anything that will float. The reader will meet, and come to know, a fascinating collage of desperate Cubans whose lives intersect in the 1990s as they flee their homeland in an old fishing boat: Amalia, a resolute university professor; Gustavo, an oceanographer in love with Amalia; Pedro, a veteran fisherman and captain of the boat; his wife, Aquilina, the devoted mother of their totally disabled son, Santiago; and Maribel and Arturo, political dissidents. When their boat capsizes, a “Brothers to the Rescue” plane appears. Will the survivors be saved? The author’s hope in writing this novel is that its readers will emotionally connect with the characters as their stories unfold, and that they will be truly moved by the real and ongoing human tragedy that the book exposes.

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Books-Cuando Lloran Los DelfinesCuando Lloran Los Delfines

Spanish Edition. “Cuando lloran los delfines” toma lugar en Cuba y en Los Estados Unidos. La primera parte, “En Noches sin Luna,” está inspirada en la verdadera historia de un joven cubano, Rafael, y sus tres hermanos que atravesaron nadando la Bahia de Guantánamo–a pesar de los tiburones y barcas patrulleras castristas–en medio de la noche para pedir asilo político en La Base Naval. La increíble escapada fue la culminación de años de prisión, trabajos forzados, y haber solicitado inútilmente permiso de salir legalmente de Cuba. La segunda parte, “Arenas Rojas,” es la historia fascinante, repetida a través de los años, de la desesperada huída atravesando el Estrecho de la Florida en barquichuelos y balsas improvisadas. El lector conocerá un fascinante collage de cubanos desesperados cuyas vidas se cruzan al tratar de escapar de su patria en un viejo barco pesquero: Amalia, una determinada profesora universitaria; Gustavo, un oceanógrafo enamorado de Amalia; Pedro, un pescador atormentado por sus circunstancias; Aquilina, su esposa; y Maribel y Arturo, disidentes politicos perseguidos. Cuando el barco se hunde durante un huracán, los sobrevivientes logran llegar a un cayo. Son descubiertos por un avión de “Hermanos al Rescate,” que promete volver a recogerlos. ¿Se salvarán el resto de los sobrevivientes, o perecerán como miles de víctimas que han muerto en el mar durante los últimos 50 años, tratando de escapar?

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Books-The Sleepwalkers BalladThe Sleepwalkers’ Ballad: Memories of the Revolution

English Edition. “The Sleepwalkers’ Ballad” is more than a traditional narrative, more than a collective of brief stories, and more than a manual of history in the academic style. It is a living portrayal of facts erupting into the political and artistic arenas, enriched by the fusion of elements of history and fictional dramatizations of actual events that come to life through the plot of the story and the experiences of the writer.

The author does not use rhetorical arguments, but tells the story through the lives and confrontations that face the human beings who are her characters, whose essence she conveys, allowing us, the readers, to see them living and acting in their environments, using their actions and dialogue as the means to show their personas, ideas, and feelings. Hence, the reader can empathize and identify with the characters instead of remaining outside of the story as a distant spectator.

The striking use of dialogue by the author, coupled with her experiences as a member of the clandestine Movement MRR during the period portrayed in this book, gives strength to the plot and emphasizes the realistic elements that permeate the story. This work, which takes place against the backdrop of historic events in Cuba, has an unusually dramatic impact, which is evident from the very first scene. This is a book that presents us with human beings driven by their passions, flaws, virtues, capacity for acts of courage, immense love, strong convictions, integrity or lack thereof, weaknesses, strengths, and the willingness to sacrifice themselves for their ideals. By the use of very direct and dynamic dialogue, the author skillfully maintains the interest of the reader and constantly moves the script forward.

The Sleepwalkers’ Ballad is a book as personal as a book can be, and as indispensable as others should be, serving as a testament to our past, and a bridge to our future.

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Books-Balada SonambulaBalada Sonámbula: Memorias de la Revolución

Spanish Edition. Historia de amor, idealismo, coraje y traiciones maquiavélicas, contra el fondo del torbellino de finales del gobierno de Batista y los tres primeros años de Castro. Además de éstos, participan en la trama “Ché,” y otros revolucionarios-como Matos y Cienfuegos-que resultan víctimas de ésta. La Revolución es un “personaje” importantísimo, haciendo de la obra un documental histórico que traza su trayectoria, mezclando personajes ficticios y reales que reflejan totalmente la realidad de lo ocurrido.

La trama incluye: el histórico ataque a Palacio durante Batista. Castro en La Sierra. Triunfo revolucionario. Ejecuciones en masa. Reformas: Agraria, Monetaria, y Urbana. Incautaciones de negocios, bancos, universidades, hogares. Nacimiento de Movimientos clandestinos. Invasión de Bahía de Cochinos. Papel del Presidente Kennedy.

La historia se materializa a través del diálogo y acción, en dramatizaciones concretas que muestran-sin proselitismo-el impacto de los cambios impuestos por las Reformas Revolucionarias en los ciudadanos y la nación.

Paralelamente se desarrolla la historia de amor de María y Alfredo. Alfredo, creyó en Castro y sus promesas de una Revolución justa, y se unió a éste en la Sierra, alcanzando el rango de comandante. Desencantado al ver la realidad, una vez que Castro se nombró Primer Ministro, destituyó al Presidente Urrutia, e implantó una férrea dictadura, Alfredo y María se unen nuevamente a la lucha clandestina, con el heroico Manolín-personaje real, figura heroica, Jefe de Inteligencia del Movimiento MRR-con el fin de liberar a Cuba.

Ante el fracaso de la Invasión, Alfredo decide matar a Castro. Hecho prisionero, es torturado para que delate la identidad de Manolín, pero resiste durante meses. Manolín es finalmente entregado por una infiltrada-hecho cierto-detenido, y fusilado.

María-que tiene también un papel importante en la obra-y Alfredo, personajes ficticios, encarnan las motivaciones y sentimientos de miles de seres humanos que arriesgaron sus vidas por la causa libertaria.

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Silhouettes in BluestoneSilhouettes in Bluestone

English Edition. “Silhouettes in Bluestone” is a captivating mosaic of characters who live in the imaginary, picturesque town of Bluestone, where a small, but well-known, liberal arts college is located, nestled like a babe in arms in the mountains that surround it. Narrated with humor and pathos, the novel tells the stories behind the faces of several fascinating professors, whose dreams, eccentricities, weaknesses, passions and aspirations are not radically different from our own. This book is a must-read for anyone who has wondered about the people behind the roles they play in our lives. Who, really, is our physician, or our accountant, or our lawyer, or even our best friend?

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Siluetas en Piedra AzulSiluetas en Piedra Azul

Spanish Edition. “Siluetas en Piedra Azul” de la autora cubana Yolanda Ortal-Miranda, es un mosaico cautivador de personajes producto de la imaginación de la escritora, que viven en la también imaginaria y pintoresca villa llamada Piedra Azul, donde hay un pequeño college que sirve de escenario para la novela, la cual contiene una mágica mezcla de personas fascinantes, con sus sueños, excentricidades, debilidades, pasiones y aspiraciones, narrada con muy buen humor, riqueza de lenguaje sin excesos y un estilo muy personal, no carente de poesía e ironía. Ésta, su tercera novela, tiene un tema y tono totalmente diferente a sus obras anteriores. Siluetas en Piedra Azul desarrolla un tema interesante para todo ser observador, que se pregunte acerca de “la persona total, la verdadera y real” que creemos conocer, por ejemplo, la enfermera en el hospital o en este caso, el competente profesorado, ante la clase; la persona profesional actuando como tal, y el otro ser humano —desconocido fuera de su escenario— que somos todos, cuando no estamos ejerciendo nuestro “papel,” bajo contrato, en la sociedad, al funcionar en casa, como parte de un núcleo familiar, sin dejar de ser médico, profesora, piloto, arquitecto, abogada, o policía.

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