6 Cristina Garcia Books You Should Read To Fast-Track Your Spanish
Cristina Garcia is a novelist and journalist from Cuba. She’s known for creating highly memorable and captivating novels focused on the stories of Cuban society and its immigrants in the United States.
Join me in this insightful blog post where I examine the 6 Books By Cristina Garcia you need to read to fast-track your Spanish.
Spanish Literature Improves Language Skills
Improving as a Spanish student requires you to get your hands on some of the best-selling Spanish literature. Whether you’re into novels, science fiction, or short stories, reading in another language transforms your capacity to fully grasp it.
When you read Spanish literature, you find an alternative for motivating yourself. It gives you superior comprehension of Spanish grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary. It also enables you to improve your reading, listening, writing, and Spanish-speaking skills.
Books allow readers to get familiarized with complex plots and their contextualization in Spanish. Their narratives are compelling and insightful.
As a reader, you come close to tales that embody social factors such as culture, lifestyle, and idiomatic expressions. You expand your vocabulary to a whole new level and discover new expressions.
Spanish literature strengthens your critical thinking skills and your capacity of analyzings situations in another language.
By choosing the right Spanish book, you find yourself immersed in the language and grow the confidence to use it naturally in your day to day.
If you’re an intermediate or advanced Spanish learner, novels by Cristina Garcia are an excellent option for you to cultivate productive reading habits for fast-tracking your Spanish.
Short Biography of Cristina Garcia
Cristina Garcia was born in Havana, Cuba on July 4th, 1958. Her mother was Cuban and her father was Guatemalan.
The author’s family was forced to leave Cuba in the early 1960s after President Fidel Castro took over office. They established themselves in the United States and started a life in New York when Cristina was only three years old.
Cristina spent her childhood growing up between Queens, Brooklyn Heights, and Manhattan. She grew up listening to stories about life in Cuba. Her upbringing brought her close to her roots and gave her a strong sense of pride in her heritage.
Cristina Garcia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science at Barnard College and a Master’s Degree in International Relations from John Hopkins University. From a very young age, the author displayed a great interest in literature and journalism.
While she attended John Hopkins she got a part-time job at the New York Times that gave her a taste of what a career in journalism would be. She also interned for The Boston Globe and worked in Time Magazine in the 1980s.
She retired in 1990 to become a full-time fiction author. She hopes that her novels are a way of showing Cuba to the world through memories, fantasy, and rituals from her Cuban heritage. Her novels often express a sense of difficulty relating to other Cuban Americans due to the lack of engagement she’s had in anti-Castro activism.
Cristina Garcia’s powerful writing skills make her one of the best representatives of Cuban literature. She currently lives in Napa with her family.
Top 6 Cristina Garcia Books For Spanish Learners
1. Bordering Fires (Voces sin fronteras)
Voces sin fronteras was published in 2006.
The anthology book is a collection of essays, poetry, and science fiction focused on Chicano and Mexican voices. It offers impressive perspectives of bicultural experiences and features the voices of Cristina Garcia and several authors, including Alfonso Reyes, Juan Rulfo, and Sandra Cisneros.
The book sparks a cross-cultural conversation that shows what life is across and beyond the United States Southern border. You can read it in no specific order as all the stories are different from each other. It’s a fantastic book to read to understand what life is for the Mexican diaspora in the United States and for those that remain in Mexico.
Links to the Book
2. Dreaming In Cuban (Soñar en Cubano)
Soñar en Cubano is an emotional novel published in 1992 by novelist Cristina Garcia.
The main character, Celia del Pino, falls in love with a Spanish guitar player who’s visiting Cuba. Her love interest invites her to follow him to Spain, however she stays in Cuba and her travel plans are ruined by political turmoil.
Instead, Celia marries Jorge del Pino and they have three children together. The novel focuses on the family members’ lives from the 1930s to the 1980s.
Celia continues to think about her lost love for the next 25 years. This becomes more evident as she shows a certain reluctance to loving her family and continues to write love letters to her Spanish crush.
Cristina Garcia tells the story from different perspectives in the Del Pino family. The novel highlights how the family endures the 1959 Cuban revolution without going into exile. This decision is made based on a prediction from a Santera (Santería priestess) that Celia is meant to spend her whole life in Cuba.
The plot is bittersweet but stays true to the author’s style. Cristina Garcia includes touches of magical realism. The book has strong female leads and has parts written that simulate letters.
The book is considered one of Cristina Garcia’s masterpieces. It led her to become a finalist for the National Book Award.
Links to the Book
Discover magical realism literary gems in this article about The Magical World of Isabel Allende.
3. The Agüero Sisters (Las hermanas Agüero)
Las hermanas Agüero was published by Cristina Garcia in 1998.
The novel focuses on Reina and Constancia Agüero, two sisters from Cuba who’ve been distanced and estranged for 30 years.
The book is told from the sisters’ perspectives and often transfers the narrative to their parents and respective daughters. It’s a story about womanhood that goes through the Cuban revolution and relocation process to Miami that many Cubans experienced at the time. Each character is unique and relatable.
The change of voices in the narrative allows the reader to form a full picture of the sisters’ life. This novel also has hints of magical realism and strong female leads, both traits signature to Cristina Garcia’s style.
Links to the Book
4. Monkey Hunting (El cazador de monos)
El cazador de monos is a novel published in 2008 by author Cristina Garcia.
The novel follows the story of an intrepid family man named Chen Pan. He’s from China and migrates to Cuba in the 1800s seeking a better life. Tricked by the supposed employer, Chen Pan finds himself enslaved in a sugar cane plantation upon arrival.
The main themes of the book are imigration and identity. Throughout his story, Chen Pan starts a family and faces a fair share of hardships as they embrace their Chinese-Cuban heritage.
The book has chapters specialized to the stories of specific characters. It’s insightful and shares a perspective of Cuba’s history and cultural melting pot.
Links to the Book
5. A Handbook to Luck (Las caras de la suerte)
Las caras de la suerte is a coming of age story focused on three teenagers in different corners of the world in the 1960s. The different cultures and nationalities play a key role in each of the relatable characters and how they define their paths.
It’s a hard novel to put down as you are captivated with the journey of the characters as they reach adulthood and encounter each other. The book uses simple, emotional, wise, and joyful language.
Links to the Book
Explore other coming of age pieces of Spanish literature in this list of Books and Poems by Julia Alvarez.
6. Cubanísimo! The Vintage Book of Contemporary Literature (¡Cubanísimo! Una antología de la literatura cubana contemporánea)
¡Cubanísimo! Una antología de la literatura cubana contemporánea is a collection of 100% Cuban original stories, novel fragments, poems, and essays.
The book is packed with Cuban rhythm and art. Cristina Garcia created a one volume space where Cuban identity and tradition converge in different time periods and places. Each chapter pays homage to a Cuban dance style and has undeniable flavor.
The novel is a rich representation of Cuban voices and different styled narratives. Cristina Garcia praises it on her website as a “celebration of Cuban culture.”
Links to the Book
Read and Speak Spanish With Confidence
This list of Cristina Garcia books is a fantastic starting point for your new habit of reading Spanish literature. Spanish literature reinforces your critical thinking and extends your vocabulary. It also empowers you to have meaningful conversations in Spanish.
Another excellent way of enhancing your fluency is conversing with a native speaker. You pick up on pronunciation and your listening skills expand. Join a free class with our certified teachers from Guatemala and prepare to explore more Spanish literary gems.
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