Concrete Wings by Beverly Gandara - a review
******* I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. *******
'Concrete Wings' by Beverly Gandara is a story spread across 50 years and two countries, the story of Julian Vida and his struggle to make something of his own from nothing at all. More than a work of fiction, the novel reads like an autobiography, starting with the impressions of a ten year old boy and graduating towards the struggle of a man to blend in with the culture and customs of his adoptive country while holding those of his own close to heart.
The story starts in Havana, right before Castro's revolution and the Bay of pigs invasion, where ten year old Julian is carted home from movie theatre by his mother as a pretext to her extra marital affair with the local policeman. The book gives a comprehensive history of Cuba and the revolution that changed its face and fate. Julian is the reader's eyes and ears while he details his family situation, his mother's indiscretions, his father's love of money, both of their sense of superiority over the people around them and utter refusal to accept the change in their life situations. At the start of Castro's ascent to power when Julian is sent to Madrid and then subsequently to New York, his experiences, his angst, his loneliness, all of it becomes tangible in Ms.Gandara's smooth narrative.
I was intrigued by the cover of this book, it seemed to say much without saying anything at all. I especially enjoyed the narrative style of the author, simple and straightforward. The one complaint I have, about the way the book is written, is that the ending was too abrupt. It seemed as if suddenly the author ran out of things to say and had to end the story somehow. Other than that, I enjoyed this novel immensely and I believe, so would every one who has directly or indirectly associated with the struggles of people who have had to flee their own countries and have had to try to make it in a foreign land.