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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Concrete Wings: One Man’s Fifty Year Journey to Personal Freedom by Beverly Gandara is a historical novel that follows the life and struggles of Julian Vida, a Cuban immigrant, and his journey to inner freedom. It is the eve of the event that has come to be known in history as the Bay of Pigs Invasion and a naïve teenage boy, Julian, is charged with saving smuggled family jewels, escaping being drafted into Fidel Castro’s army, and preparing a place for his family in the US. This is a coming of age story that explores the political and sexual revolution in the USA. Julian experiences a lot of freedom until the arrival of his parents, who can’t blend in with the American way of life. Read on to discover his heartaches, his inner turmoil, and what constitutes his ultimate success.
This is a beautiful story that is beautifully told and the reader is transported into the Cuban world view at the wake of the twentieth century. One of the things that caught my attention was the vivid portrait of the culture as the author weaves cultural elements into the story, allowing readers to penetrate the soul of the Cuban. The historical references come out neatly in the narrative and readers will be absorbed by the social commentary the author makes. The conflict is well-developed and it has a lot of psychological implications for the protagonist. Concrete Wings: One Man’s Fifty Year Journey to Personal Freedom is a captivating story that is told in the first person narrative, pulling the reader into the narrator’s point of view irresistibly. Beverly Gandara transports readers to a powerful historical and cultural setting and makes them fall in love with the characters.