November 9, 2016

EXCERPT: LIGHTS OUT: A CUBAN MEMOIR OF BETRAYAL AND SURVIVAL BY DANIA ROSA NASCA


NEW! Every Wednesday The Latina Book Club will feature excerpts from exciting novels by Latino authors. Happy reading!

And Congratulations to Dania on her new book just out last month! 
LIGHTS OUT is an emotional, heart wrenching memoir of what was and could have been in Cuba.


Cuba, Latina Book Club, Maria Ferrer, Dania Nasca, Fidel Castro
by Dania Rosa Nasca
New Release – October 2016


Book Sumary:  Dania Nasca chronicles Fidel Castro's rise to power and the truth behind the dictator. His fascination with Hitler, Mussolini, and other fascists lead to a totalitarian state of sorrow and pain. At the same time, she shows a deep love and respect for the history and culture of Cuba. 


EXCERPT:

A Vignette

There Used to Be a Carousel


Every year a traveling fair, Los Caballitos (the Little Horses) de Labrada came to my home town of HolguĂ­n. The fair came to the same spot every year: an empty, dusty field on the corner of Calles Fomento and Aricochea. It was a simple but colorful traveling amusement park, and it brought much joy to children and parents alike. The fair had all kinds of rides, but the carousel with its horses was the most beloved.

Anticipation of Los Caballitos was a wonderful feeling for me. Each year I was bubbling over with excitement, remembering the beautiful carousel, the music, the different food vendors, and the admission tickets that cost just pennies. It was there I first tasted cotton candy. I remember my parents’ delight when they introduced me to my very first cotton candy. I still remember my amazement when the vendor kept turning the stick round and round and the cotton candy grew bigger and bigger. When I finally tasted it, I could not believe how quickly or how sweetly it dissolved on my tongue.

Although the government takeover of large private businesses was spreading to medium-sized and some smaller businesses at the time, Los Caballitos de Labrada was still operating freely, or so it appeared. Yet the last time Los Caballitos came to town, it brought a different experience. For me, it was the most powerful realization about how everything that was colorful, joyful, and beautiful had disappeared or turned gray.

I was so excited when I saw the workers setting up the rides. Finally, the day came. I was going to go on the carousel first of all. I got a couple of coins from my mother and ran as fast as I could to the lot.

Arriving, I stopped dead in my tracks. My feet froze to the ground. I felt as if a giant with a huge hand had slapped me across the face and stopped my heart.

There in front of me was the carousel, except it didn’t have its beautiful, multi-colored horses and carriages, its organ, and its sprightly music. The beautiful, bright horses were gone, replaced by flat wooden cutouts in the shape of horses, held together with screws or glue and painted an ugly, dark, uniform gray.

If there were any other rides, I did not notice. The place was deserted. There was no music, excitement, or joy. One look at the merry-go-round was all I needed to see. I turned around and went home, my heart and stomach aching with an enormous sadness. I can only describe it as a sickened feeling all over my body and permeating my being; it was that dark, gray, and depressing. Everything, absolutely everything, is gone or gray, gray, gray. This thought ran over and over again in my mind. I was ten years old.

Eventually Los Caballitos de Labrada would be closed by the government, but not before it came to town, all over Cuba, one last time: gray, ugly, and lifeless, to shatter the heart of every child.

Only those of us who lived under Fidel know that the travesty must have been calculated. I remember thinking, My God, there will be nothing, nothing to look forward to, and that was the purpose. It was part of the soulless implementation of the communist state’s plan to rob children of joy, dreams, and childhood; to mold them into spiritless communists. Fidel stole happiness from children and from their parents.

Sometimes I think Fidel stole more from the poor than from the rich, for the arrival of Los Caballitos gave even the most impoverished children a moment in the sunshine each year. Even the poorest could scrape together the few pennies to ride the carousel and experience the delight, freedom, and flights of fancy children need to nourish their imaginations. We were robbed of even that precious beam of sunlight in our children’s lives. It was done to extinguish the light in our souls.###


Excerpt published with permission. All rights reserved by author.



About the author:  DANIA ROSA NASCA was born in 1958 in Holguín, the City of Parks, Oriente, Cuba, the year the Cuban Revolution drove Batista from power. She was given a front-row seat to Fidel Castro’s takeover of the government and all private enterprise. When she was twelve, she and her family immigrated to the United States through a US-sponsored Freedom Flight. Dania works as a financial counselor for the University of Rochester’s Strong Memorial Hospital. She closely follows world affairs, especially events in Cuba and other communist countries. A proud Cuban American and a hockey mom who hates snow, she lives in Rochester, New York, with her husband, Tony, their son, Anthony, and their Chihuahua-Manchester terrier. Rochester has been her home ever since she arrived in the United States. Visit her blog at https://lightsoutacubanmemoir.blogspot.com.


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