Fiction - General
209 Pages
Reviewed on 05/18/2016
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Author Biography

José Ramón Torres was born and raised in Cuba, where he spent 32 years of his life. He completed his university studies in English Language and Literature at University of Havana and a PhD in Education (Language Teaching) at University of Barcelona. In Havana, Vancouver, Barcelona and Cambridge (where he is currently based with his wife and two children), he has worked as a language teacher, translator, interpreter, TV presenter, proofreader, localisation project and language manager, telephone operator, doorman and street seller. His first novel, entitled Waves and translated into several languages, draws a parallel between three major Cuban migration episodes to the US. To some extent, the book describes the political wrangling between Fidel Castro and various US administrations. But above all it narrates the misadventures of three members of a Cuban family who decide to emigrate to the US after seeing for themselves they cannot lead a satisfactory life on the island. Before writing this first work of fiction, he had published several academic articles, mostly on phonetics and language teaching. He is now embarked on the writing of a second novel: a journey in the opposite direction to Olas, from the First World to the Third World.

    Book Review

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.