Fiction can be a rich go-to venue for walking in someone else’s shoes, to transport yourself to another place or time or mindset through the power of expert wordsmithing. Most often, what you read in novels is based on real-life stories of people who have lived the tale. And when these stories are rendered in works of memoir, historiography, biography, journalistic exposés, or even poetry, we feel the same narrative power as we do in fiction. This is especially important when reading about the diverse and complex lives of Latinx communities.
By María de los Angeles TorresMy parents, like thousands of Cubans, had supported the revolution at first; they hid rebels in our home, a risk that could have cost them their lives. In January 1959, the day the rebeldes marched into Havana, my father rushed home to pick me up so that we could greet them. When we reached the Avenida de los Presidentes, a wide avenue dotted with statues of Cuba’s past presidents, he hoisted me onto his shoulders so that I could see over the crowd. People were jubilant—dancing, chanting, and reaching out to touch the bearded rebels in their olive green uniforms. One stopped in front of us and reached up to hug me; I was mesmerized by the red glass beads of the rosary that hung from his neck and the silver cross almost buried in his hairy chest. We honked our car horn all the way home. My father told me it was a day I must never forget.