Wednesday, December 22, 2010
"Salvador had been in Ybor City less than one day when he saw a man bite the head off a live rooster." The first sentence of The Cigar Maker quickly grabs your attention and doesn't let go.
Travel through time and place with Salvador Ortiz as he fights Spain for independence in Cuba, finds the love of his life, moves his family to Ybor City in Tampa, makes fine cigars at a Cigar Factory, Joins La Resistencia, goes on strike, is kidnapped to Honduras, all under the backdrop of the turn of the 20th century. What an adventure in reading!
This book will entertain you while it teaches you about the Cuban immigrant experience in Florida. I found the backdrop of the novel compelling and the history of Ybor City fascinating. The characters are unique and interesting people who are like an extended family minus the corrupt police and the mafia street thugs. Racism and anti-worker rights run high in the capitalistic system that is trying to make the cigar making industry more productive.
I love reading books that offer me a new experience and teach history. The Cigar Maker taught me a part of the history of Cuba and America that I never knew, particularly the Cuban immigrant experience. The author Mark McGinty makes you feel like you are a part of the Ortiz family as you laugh, love, dine, smoke, hope and cry with them.
Have you ever smoked a cigar?
This is the perfect novel to light up a cigar (or not), kick your feet up, sit on the porch, and read. It will take you back in time to a distinct and diverse place. Enjoy!