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LA AMERICANA PAPERBACK IS OUT TODAY! + A SHORT, VISUAL WALK THROUGH MY BOOK/HAVANA

12:04 PM Melanie Bowden Simón 0 Comments Category :















La Americana: A Memoir paperback is out today!

#1 Kindle Best Seller - Memoir, History of Cuba, Travel to Cuba

"A fascinating and important read at this pivotal moment in US-Cuba relations"- NPR

"Beautifully rendered...evocative" - Publishers Weekly

"21 Best Nonfiction Books of Summer 2016" - Bustle


A great stocking stuffer, buy your copy here

In honor of my paperback release, here's a short walk 
through La Americana: A Memoir:
After meeting Luis in Cuba in April of 2001, I returned to Havana in March 2002. He didn't speak English and I barely spoke Spanish then, but we bonded quickly. Smack in the middle of the high-tension era between Fidel Castro and President George W. Bush, we did our best to ignore nasty rifts between our countries.
From Luis' balcony we could see this plaza bordering the Swiss Embassy, which housed the U.S. Foreign Interests Section from 1977 to 2015. Fidel Castro called the American outpost, which is now home to the U.S. Embassy and just to the left of this photo, a 'nest of spies.' 

Once, in retaliation to President Bush's installation of a Times Square-style ticker that streamed messages about free speech, Castro replaced the Cuban flags shown above with 138 black ones that blocked the visuals. This was also a favorite spot for Castro's half-day rallies and impassioned speeches, which called tens of thousands of protestors to action. 
Ignoring politics, Luis and I married in the cathedral of Havana's 16th century Spanish-built fortress El Morro in April of 2003. 
With my brother Walter as we crossed under the colonial Spanish Redcoats' traditional formation.  
In our getaway car, we were joyful, but uncertainty lingered. It would be another year before Luis would receive approval to move to the U.S. During that time, I traveled to Cuba frequently. We roamed beautiful spots like Hotel Nacional and Old Havana, shown below, while I immersed myself in Cuban culture. I also spent hours writing journal entries that would later become the base for my book. 
A favorite spot along the Malecón, the seaside wall that wraps five miles of Havana's coastline.

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