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Welcome to Havana, Seņor Hemingway
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   A literary time machine that will take you to pre-Castro Cuba with a fresh perspective.

Title: Welcome to Havana, Seņor Hemingway
Author: Alfredo Jose Estrada

Publisher: TurnKey Press; (October 2003)

Genre: Historical Fiction

ISBN: 0974700401

Paperback: 340 pages



Rating: Highly Recommend


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 Seņor 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.  Seņor 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. 


Seņor Estrada, thank you for the journey!