Exiles on Main Street

Cristina Garcia -- whose acclaimed new novel, A Handbook to Luck, tells the tale of three political exiles from the ravaged countries of Iran, El Salvador, and Cuba -- probes seldom-told stories of an extraordinary America because she is, herself, an extraordinary American. Her family fled Castro’s Cuba in 1961, and her cultural roots run deep in life and in her fiction. Says Garcia, “I see myself as complicating the notion of what it means to be Cuban or Cuban-American and resisting the political and cultural straitjacket that a handful of exiles would put us in.”

And what does the outspoken author say about the New Cuban Order under Raul Castro? “I'd like to quote my father on this, who said, ‘Mismo perro, collar diferente.’ This means, ‘Same dog, different collar.’ I don't anticipate any big changes in Cuba until the Cubans themselves have a say in their destiny.”

Sun., May 4, 4 p.m., 2008
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Peter Breslin