The Center for Fiction and the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival welcomed playwright and author Cristina García (Monkey Hunting, The Aguero Sisters) for the launch of Vanishing Maps, a sequel to her debut novel, Dreaming in Cuban. Set twenty years after the events in Dreaming in Cuban, García’s new novel tracks four generations of the del Pino family against the tumultuous backdrops of Cuba, the U.S., Germany, and Russia. Cut off from their Cuban roots but still feeling the island’s pull, the family grapples with their histories over a momentous year before they meet in Berlin for an explosive reunion. García was joined by fellow Cuban author Ernesto Mestre-Reed (Sacrificio) for a discussion about the process of crafting complex characters and weaving together multigenerational narratives as well as the novel’s rich themes of family, devotion, and the timeless search for home.
By Cristina García
Published by Knopf
Celia del Pino, the matriarch of a far-flung Cuban family, has watched her descendants spread out across the globe, struggling to make sense of their transnational identities and strained relationships with one another. In Berlin, the charismatic yet troubled Ivanito performs on stage as his drag queen persona, while being haunted by the ghost of his mother. Pilar Puente, adrift in Los Angeles, is a struggling sculptor and the single mother of a young son. In Moscow, Ivanito’s cousin Irina has become the wealthy owner of a lingerie company, but she remains deeply lonely in the wake of her parents’ deaths and her estrangement from her Cuban heritage. Meanwhile, in Havana, Celia prepares to reunite with her lost lover, Gustavo, and wonders whether age and the decades spent apart have altered their bond.
Cut off from their Cuban roots, yet still feeling the island’s ineluctable pull, Ivanito and his extended family try to reimagine where—and with whom—they belong. Over the course of a momentous year, each will grapple with their histories as they are pulled to Berlin for a final, explosive reunion.
Set twenty years after the events in Dreaming in Cuban, Cristina García’s new novel is an epic tale of family, devotion, and the timeless search for home.
Cristina García is the author of eight novels including Dreaming in Cuban, The Agüero Sisters, Monkey Hunting, A Handbook to Luck, The Lady Matador’s Hotel, King of Cuba, and Here in Berlin. García’s work has been nominated for a National Book Award and translated into fifteen languages. She’s taught at universities nationwide and is currently resident playwright at Central Works Theater in Berkeley.
Photo Credit: Gary L. Aguliar
Ernesto Mestre-Reed was born in Guantánamo, Cuba. He is the author of the novels The Lazarus Rumba, The Second Death of Única Aveyano, and Sacrificio. He is a Guggenheim Fiction Fellow, a MacDowell Fellow, and teaches at Brooklyn College. He has also translated many novels from Spanish, including Laura Esquivel’s Malinche.