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I Gave You All I Had Hardcover – 9 Nov 1999


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Arcade; 1st English-language Ed edition (9 Nov. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559704772
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559704779
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 2.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,831,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 Nov. 1999
Format: Hardcover
A truly facinating book! It is two love stories at the same time. One is the main character's (Cuca's) love for the first man she ever kissed. This love story goes on from their first meeting in the late 1950s to their last meeting in the mid-1990s. The second is the author's love for Havana, and her disappointment in the Castro regime. This love story develops from a colourful picture of the open and international Havana of the 1950s into a depressingly accurate description of today's isolated communist Havana, where food, clothes and other essentials are luxury goods available only for the newly rich (whether party elite or people working in the dollar economy). Both these themes are comunicated in a beautiful, quick, and direct language that makes the reader feel present in Havana. You can actually smell the dirt, hear the ocean, breathe the air and feel the music. I'd certainly recommend it to all, especially if you either love Cuba or the Latin American style of writing - or both!
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By Gary Jackson on 17 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 14 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A studied, original, literate novel 4 Feb. 2001
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Cuca Martinez is the youngest child in a brood of five, born in pre-revolutionary Cuba to a flighty, aspiring actress and a Chinese enthusiast of New World riches upon whom fortune has consistently failed to smile. At the age of ten, Cuca is sent to live with her grandmother; at sixteen she heads for Havana in search of work. Pre-revolutionary Havana is a sultry capital of music and seduction where life is lived to the percussive beat of the mambo and rhumba, and every event comes with a sensual invitation. It is also where two other girls introduce Cuca into the sweet mischief of nighttime Havana where she meets Juan who will be the love of her live -- and then disappear for eight years. On the eve of the Revolution Juan returns and Cuca beliefs her dreams are finally to be realized. But the political climate and Juan's shady dealings force him into hasty exile in America. So Cuca waits in Cuba for the realization of promised dreams, all the while struggles, along with her friends, to survive through improvisation, scavenging, and conversation. Enthusiastically recommended reading, I Gave You All I Had is a studied, original, literate novel that is humorous, lively, original, heartbreaking, and life affirming.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Boring and confusing 24 April 2006
By Mauricio B. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is the second book by this author I read. Here I encountered the same problems I found in the other book. She begins a story, but obviously never knows how to finish it nor what to do with her characters. Besides, there is a lot of inconsistencies in both plots. I don't think she even knows how to write. I won't read any more of her books. It is a waste of time and money. I recommend instead another Cuban author: Antonio Orlando Rodriguez: "The Last Masquerade"
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A completely waste of time 23 Aug. 2010
By Domingo Suarez - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I also was lost in the middle of a plot with so many inconsistencies. This writer simply does not know how to narrate a simple story. Besides, there are historical errors alongside the plot. Shameful!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Unbelievable writing! 22 Feb. 2005
By Monkey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Ms. Valdes writes about the Cuban despair better than any writer around. Her writing is remarkable, her sentences just leap off the page.

I do agreee with over reviewers who say the beginning is fantastic and then it slowly peters out. After a few days of thinking about it, I believe this is intentional. Her energetic style (at the beginning) coincides with the optimism many Cubans felt at the beginning of the revolution. Her writing becomes flat, sad, and full of dull rage as her characters live out the failed promises of the revolution.

Perhaps my interpretation is too fanciful, but I can't get this story out of my head nonetheless. I don't recommend this book to people who don't have a sense of modern Cuban culture or history, I think those readers will be lost. It's an great example, however, of "exile" literature.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Read it! 10 Oct. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
A truly facinating book! It is two love stories at the same time. One is the main character's (Cuca's) love for the first man she ever kissed. This love story goes on from their first meeting in the late 1950s to their last meeting in the mid-1990s. The second is the author's love for Havana, and her disappointment in the Castro regime. This love story develops from a colourful picture of the open and international Havana of the 1950s into a depressingly accurate description of today's isolated communist Havana, where food, clothes and other essentials are luxury goods available only for the newly rich (whether party elite or people working in the dollar economy). Both these themes are comunicated in a beautiful, quick, and direct language that makes the reader feel present in Havana. You can actually smell the dirt, hear the ocean, breathe the air and feel the music. I'd certainly recommend it to all, especially if you are either intersted in Cuba or the Latin American style of writing - or both!
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