read online Audible The Distant Marvels –

Maria Sirena Tells Stories She Does It For Money She Was A Favorite In The Cigar Factory Where She Worked As A Lettora And For Love, Spinning Gossamer Tales Out Of Her Own Past For The Benefit Of Friends, Neighbors, And Family But Now, Like A Modern Day Scheherazade, She Will Be Asked To Tell One Last Story So That Eight Women Can Keep Both Hope And Themselves Alive Cuba, Hurricane Flora, One Of The Deadliest Hurricanes In Recorded History, Is Bearing Down On The Island Seven Women Have Been Forcibly Evacuated From Their Homes And Herded Into The Former Governor S Mansion, Where They Are Watched Over By Another Woman, A Young Soldier Of Castro S New Cuba Named Ofelia Outside The Storm Is Raging And The Floodwaters Are Rising In A Single Room On The Top Floor Of The Governor S Mansion, Maria Sirena Begins To Tell The Incredible Story Of Her Childhood During Cuba S Third War Of Independence Of Her Father Augustin, A Ferocious Rebel Of Her Mother, Lulu, An Astonishing Woman Who Fought, Loved, Dreamed, And Suffered As Fiercely As Her Husband Stories, However, Have A Way Of Taking On A Life Of Their Own, And Transported By Her Story S Momentum, Maria Sirena Will Reveal About Herself Than She Or Anyone Ever Expected Chantel Acevedo S The Distant Marvels Is An Epic Adventure Tale, A Family Saga, A Love Story, A Stunning Historical Account Of Armed Struggle Against Oppressors, And A Long Tender Plea For Forgiveness It Is, Finally, A Life Affirming Novel About The Kind Of Love That Lasts A Lifetime And The Very Art Of Storytelling Itself If you are looking for diverse reads or are interested in reading from an Hispanic author, this story begins in 1963 in Castro s Cuba A storyteller tries to keep the ladies calm as they ride out the a hurricane in the former Governor s Palace She tells her own story and that of her father and mother in Cuba s third war for independence Most of the book circles around this time period Some of the themes that are introduced include the importance of storytelling, race, the War for Independence, rebellion and freedom It s interesting that in fighting for freedom they actually got Communism It seemed in the book they were fighting against something Spain and didn t really know what they were fighting for freedom but what is freedom Some adult content. 3.5 It s 1963 in Santiago Hurricane Flora rages and eight women are trapped in an abandoned mansion watched over by a soldier in Castro s army To entertain and pass a dangerous night, as well as satisfy a deep personal need, an old woman on the precipice of death begins to tell them stories that begin with her earliest childhood during Cuba s war for independence.My group challenge was to read a book or author from the Caribbean Since Fidel Castro just passed and my own childhood was colored by the Bay of Pigs with its threat of nuclear war, this seemed a good choice I knew nothing of pre 1960s Cuba The power of folklore and remembrance told by those who came before is at its heart It revealed a side of Cuba s culture and history I knew nothing about.Although enjoyable as well as enlightening, I found the movements between past and present with short chapters too distracting, like constant interruption during reading or film watching which tempered my enthusiasm a bit, though it must be said the author writes beautifully. Mama, como te queiro, my daughter whispers, proving what I already know that there can be no safe place, no body that does not grow ill at last, no escape from death or absolute safety from storms But that love, in its full measure, is a kind of swirling tempest, too, and in its eye, there is stillness and comfort and peace I did not intend to read another book about revolution on a small island when I picked this up, since I just finished a novel about war in Sri Lanka, but after I experienced the writing in this one, it was too late This one takes place in Cuba, with the birth of Maria Sirena in 1881, whose parents were revolutionaries trying to gain independence from Spain It ends in 1963, just as Castro has come into power We get Maria s tragic story as she tells it to other elderly women evacuated during Hurricane Flora.As sometimes happens when I read well researched, well written historical novels, I learned so much about the history of Cuba from this one Spain fought long and hard for this island, but Cubans fought longer and harder for their freedom Germany was not the first country to have concentration camps The Spanish simply walled in the villages in Cuba and left the people to die with no food or water, then threw their bodies behind the fences to be eaten by vultures Who needs gas and ovens when you can just let nature take its course Maria Sirena told her story so people wouldn t forget Fiction, yes, but it worked in my case I won t easily forget this novel, or the people in it. Perhaps she is right, that there is no reason to suffering, no fair dealing when it comes to meting out bliss and pain There are just choices, and the echoes of those choices. The memory of her in that moment, ragged and hostile, remained a vague one for a long time It became clear only a few months later, when I d seen enough to make meaning of those blurry shapes I cannot pinpoint the exact moment when the remembrance suddenly sharpened in my head, but it was similar to the feeling of putting on eyeglasses for the first time. I realized two things that night The first was that LuLu admired my father in direct relation to his status as a rebel She d left Julio Reyes in Havana without much of a thought once Agustin returned, bloody and smelling of smoke Now, at Dos Rios, another man threatened to trump my father s allegiance to the cause, and hence, take his place in my mother s estimation.A lush and beautifully written book, I loved hearing the stories of Maria Sirena s life and what she and her family went through It draws you in and it s easy to get lost in the story.At times, the book dipped back and forth, for short times it wouldn t keep me interested but then would bounce back It s a low key novel in some ways and it does pull at your heartstrings I would recommend it, be patient and just flow with the story, it may surprise you.Happy reading