Book Review ‘Next Year in Havana’ Chanel Cleeton

Even Death has a heart…
Markus Zusak

Two-lines love-ly novel: 1 – the story of grandmother Elise (when she was 19 yo) and 2 – the story of the granddaughter Marisol (when she’s 25-28yo).

The place: Cuba

Time: 1959 and 2017

Have you ever noticed that all stories starts from ‘death’? Death is too entertaining and in the same time too dreadful. And we love it.
This novel is not an exception: the grandma just died and her granddaughter is smuggling the ashes inside of the suitcase to Cuba.

‘When I die, take me back to Cuba.
Spread my ashes over the land I love. You’ll know there!’

But Marisol doesn’t know shit. She never been in Cuba, she enjoyed her sweet, safe, rich life in Miami, while working as freelance writer.


There once was a girl who came to Havana
And met Luis, almost married.
She peered over his shoulder
And saw that there’s no freedom
In Cuba. Not yet.

None of things you own is yours.
The framed photographs on the wall
Have witnessed La Cabana sex.
Just once. Not too much
To be too sad if you cross paths again.

Paths with real, hot, non-luxury Luis
that would not have crossed,
If she’d be one happy beach-girl.
Are you ready to shook Cuba up?
And spill the truth over the living world?

It can work in Florida, but here
Fidel is still a Curse of everything,
Fidel is immortal and he doesn’t like you.
The grandma with the guitar
Singing quietly from the Dead Land:

‘For THOSE involved with my ashes:
It wasn’t like that in Cuba before,
Pick them all up, and go home!’
‘It makes no sense,’ whispered the girl
From the bed, joining Luis for one more round.

Thats actually all I have to say, haha

I liked: the feel of Cuba (how it was before Fidel and after Fidel), the story of loss, memories of grandmother are more intimate than the girl from XXI century.

There’s not so much passion in the story, to call it Love Story.

Rate: Neither fish nor flesh, but for those who are enjoying the quiet slow romantic love stories – it will be a great read!

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Victoria Ray NB View All →

Living in Sweden. Awesome. Happy. Writing. Ayurvedic food. Healthy lifestyle. Dogs. Literature. Drawing. Meditation/Yoga.

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