November 21, 2012

by Antonio J. Guernica

In 1953, Alfonso Candela is a likeable rogue who loves his privileged life in Santiago de Cuba. Unfortunately, Fidel Castro has other plans for him.

As the Cuban Revolution takes root and irrevocably tears at the fabric of Alfonso's personal paradise, he and his family attempt to go about their daily lives, despite the mounting threats that surround them. When approached by a rebel who wants their weekend home to help dethrone Batista in the name of democracy, the Candelas are seemingly left with no choice but to comply. His wife, Mirta, befriends Teodora, the head of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution, who channels her interest in her neighbors' affairs into revolutionary purpose and insists that Alfonso join the militia.

With their family splintered and in exile, the Candelas must reinvent their lives in an alien land. But when Fidel finally opens the gates of Mariel, Alfonso returns, intent on seeking redemption.

In this historical saga, the essence of the Cuban Revolution is captured through the eyes of the Candela family as they reflect on the life that could have been and the generation that must create a new paradise in exile.

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