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Welcome to Havana, Senor Hemingway [Hardcover]

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Item description for Welcome to Havana, Senor Hemingway by Alfredo Estrada...

"My grandfather once knocked down Ernest Hemingway, or so I was told..." So begins an intriguing journey of discovery in Cuba. Many years ago, Javier Lpez Angulo met the celebrated writer and introduced him to Prohibition-era Havana, which throbbed with revolution and rumba. Now, his grandson returns to find out why their friendship ended so abruptly. This captivating novel evokes Cuba as Hemingway saw it, and Hemingway as Cubans saw him. Combining fact and fiction, Alfredo Jos Estrada deftly recreates the magical world of pre-Castro Cuba in a stunning literary debut. Welcome to Havana Seor Hemingway will appeal not only to Hemingway fans and those interested in Cuba, but to anyone who appreciates righly detailed historical fiction.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   341
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.1" Width: 6.2" Height: 1.2"
Weight:   1.3 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Aug 30, 2005
Publisher   Planeta
ISBN  193316901X  
ISBN13  9781933169019  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > Formats
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Historical

Reviews - What do customers think about Welcome to Havana, Senor Hemingway?

Never recieved the item  Jul 28, 2005
We recieved the other two books but never recieved "Welcome to Havana, Senor Hemingway"
A must for Hemingway enthusiasts  Aug 18, 2004
You've read all the literature by the man, all the books about the man, and now you've reached the point of reading fictionalized accounts of the man. It's all part of the natural transition of the die-hard Hemingway fan.
"Welcome To Havana, Senor Hemingway" is a well researched novel that entertains and informs, covering a little known period in Hemingway's life. His relationship with Jane Mason, based on fact, is convincingly portrayed, as is the marlin fishing with Joe Russell on the "Anita". The flavor and turmoil of 1930's Cuba are effectively brought to life, giving the novel its greatest strength.
Estrada is an excellent, descriptive writer.
A fascinating, original, and very highly recommended story  Jul 17, 2004
Based upon Hemingway's unpublished letters and journals, as well as contemporary accounts of his early years on the island of Cuba, novelist Alfredo Jose Estrada has developed an impressive and entertaining story of a young Cuban-American journalist, whose grandmother shows him a photograph of her husband posing alongside Hemingway and a giant marlin. The journalist then sets out to learn the truth about his grandfather, Javier Lopez Angulo, who supposedly got into a fistfight with Ernest Hemingway and knocked the famous author down. The journalist travels to Havana and learns how his grandfather met Hemingway and why their friendship ended so abruptly. Along the way, he discovers the myths, stories, and people involved in Hemingway's life in Cuba during Havana's golden age in the 1930s. If Welcome To Havana, Senior Hemingway were a film we would call it a "docudrama". Alfredo Estrada has done a masterful job of recreating a yesteryear populated by memorable characters in an inherently fascinating, original, and very highly recommended story.
Papa�s got a brand new book  Apr 14, 2004
Truth may be stranger than fiction, but fiction usually has a more compelling dramatic arc. Usually.
Writer Alfredo José Estrada, however, dresses his fiction in the tattered and draping gown of truth, leaving the story to stumble and trip even as it parades down Calle Obispo de Havana.
The magazine editor's first attempt at a full length novel dives into the murky salt waters of the Gulf Stream and emerges on a bustling island almost 70 years in the past, dripping with details gleamed from periodicals and biographies.
Like the winding, enigmatic streets of some shadowy, seasoned city, Estrada's tale, "Welcome to Havana, Señor Hemingway," twists and turns, and the reader must often backtrack after running directly into a dead end.
Rich and exotic, the world painted by Estrada, we quickly learn, is much like our own. While many of his characters live fantastical lives, they deal with love and the loss of love as ineptly and clumsily as any of us.
The harsh reality of terrorism adds to the timeliness of the narrative, which slips from actual accounts into the thoughts and feelings of the characters, leaving readers incredulous. Still, bomb blasts and the staccato of Thompson submachine guns yank us back into Estrada's world - the years and moments just before the Cuban revolution of 1933 - whenever we start to drift like his daydreaming protagonists Javier.
Estrada blends reality and fiction ceaselessly, if not seamlessly, starting the novel with this sentence: "My grandfather once knocked down Ernest Hemingway, or so I was told."
And with that we are taken into an investigation of the life of the grandfather, Javier, and his rocky relationship with Hemingway.
But the novel swings focus like the light tower of Castillo del Morro, illuminating in pulses the troubled lives of its players.
Estrada uses the frenzied exploits of Hemingway - whose ghost remains strong in Cuba - as his beacon, defining his other characters by the way they refract his brilliance.
But like a moth to the flame, Estrada is unable to resist Hemingway's light, letting the larger-than-life writer who preferred to be called "Papa" draw the entire story into himself, leaving a vacuum where a novel should be.
The romp through Cuba, however, proves fun and educational. Leaving empty bottles of Hatuey in our wake, we tear across Havana, from the Zombie Club to the Alhambra, sucking down crabmeat and clams on the way.
We also encounter characters too numerous to track - Jane Mason, Jack Halsey, Tom Beales, the infamous El Zurdo, Kiki Herrera and Leopoldina la Honesta - and watch many of them meet death and disaster as revolution rips apart Havana.
But predominately the creations of Estrada meet disappointment and failure, and while that may or may not be an accurate depiction of real life it makes for a novel that comes up short.
The exploits of Hemingway on the high seas, searching for a great old marlin, fill many of the books pages. Towards the end of the novel, after Javier finally blackens Papa's eye, Hemingway hooks the big fish. His efforts, however, prove irrelevant as the marlin makes a dramatic escape and we are left wondering, what was the point?
After the insubstantial conclusion, Estrade writes, "Each book is a conspiracy," and like so many conspiracies "Welcome to Havana" amounts to a whole lot of nada.
A literary time machine that will take you to pre-Castro Cub  Feb 19, 2004
Reviewed by: Tyrone Vincent Banks of Betsie's Literary Page

A literary time machine that will take you to pre-Castro Cuba with a fresh perspective.

February 18, 2004

I try to read and review the books that are presented to me within an acceptable timeframe. However, as I read the first words of this novel and proceeded to the conclusion, I did not want to miss one word! I found myself reading and rereading various sections in an attempt to take in every aspect of this book with no exceptions.

In Señor Estrada's novel, he begins by painting a diverse and colorful background utilizing culture rich Havana. He assembles a combination of visual and physical necessities that create a backdrop in front of which this novel unfolds. Each character is meticulously developed through the writing and their actions described by our narrator. Once developed, these multi-faceted characters interact with the multi-faceted background to play out the story.

Enter Harvard educated Javier Lopez Angulo and legendary American writer
Ernest Hemingway, two of the author's main characters that form a bond after a near miss - with each others' fists. The two form a bond of sorts and Javier leads Ernest "call me Papa" Hemingway through Cuba in a series of interesting events that take place prior to and during the violence that enthralls Cuba as it approaches the prohibition era riddled with social revolution.

In the author's descriptions, you sit at a small table in the nightclubs Javier and Hemingway frequent. You watch the two of them drinking together, engaged in conversation about the ladies or the fishing - two of Hemingway's many passions. Every so often you witness a patron in the bar challenge Hemingway to a fight, only to be disposed of in a melee that entertains the crowd immensely.

The two characters cross each other often, either in boxing matches or in matters of the heart. You get the sense that their relationship is evolving from a state of serenity to that of rivalry. Just like the Cuba that they live in during this time, things are going to change and they do. Señor Estrada will take you on this personal journey in an attempt to discover what caused the rift in the relationship between his grandfather and Hemingway. You unravel this mystery utilizing Estrada's visual artistry in due time but every word from beginning to end will captivate you instantly.

Add this one to your library, just as I have and revisit it often.

Señor Estrada, thank you for the journey!


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