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Reviewed by Deborah Lloyd for Readers' Favorite
José Ramón Torres’ fictional work, Waves, captures a historical period when life in Cuba was extremely difficult, resulting in mass migration from the country. The novel begins in Havana in the early 1980s. Angel Ribot is the main protagonist, as he, family members and close friends struggle with daily life while under Fidel Castro’s controlling regime. The most important decisions for all were whether or not to seek asylum at an embassy, try to leave the country by other means, or choose to stay in familiar surroundings. Different choices were made by Angel and the people he loved – some went to Peru; some made the treacherous crossing to Miami immediately, while others followed many years later; some stayed and endured harsh conditions. The day-to-day living conditions in Cuba, as well as the emotional toll felt by separated family members, are poignantly portrayed over fourteen years.
In his historical novel, Waves, author José Ramón Torres uses wonderfully descriptive language to paint realistic scenarios. The reader will not forget the crowds at the Peruvian embassy, the smells of a crowded jail cell, nor the horrible sea crossings. The reader will feel the fright of being labeled a dissident, the elation of seeing the American coastline, and the love between father and children after many years of separation. Although the book is a novel, the author has expertly woven interesting, factual information throughout the story, teaching and engaging the reader simultaneously. This is a compelling and intriguing read; everyone who reads this book will gain a better understanding of the struggles in Cuba during recent decades.