Back when I was in college, I somehow missed a course for my concentration, Latin American-US Relations. Scrabbling to find something else so I could graduate on time, I landed in a Cuban-American literature course, taught by the wonderful Achy Obejas, a Cuban-American writer and currently the Sur Juana Ines de la Cruz scholar at DePaul. She writes for WBEZ, here and was seriously one of the best professors I have ever had.
One of the best things I was introduced to is Cristina Garcia’s writing and in the course we read Dreaming in Cuban and I loved it. When I saw The Lady Matador’s Hotel on sale I had to have it.
Once I started reading it, I couldn’t really put it down. Garcia brilliantly weaves the tale of four different stories together through the physical building of the hotel.
In an unnamed Central American capital, Garcia is able to highlight some issues particular to the region. Her colonel could be a relic from any number of wars; the poet is a Cuban ex-pat whose story is typical of so many exiles, Cuban or not.
I must confess that I love nearly all novels from Latin America- I blame Ms. Foley’s obsession with Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez for this long running love. So maybe I’m biased or maybe not. But seriously, if you have never read anything by Cristina Garcia, check her out.