Study Guide

Dreaming in Cuban Genre

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Family Drama; Magical Realism; Coming-of-Age

When an author prints a family tree in the first few pages of her book, it's a pretty sure sign you're heading into a family drama. And in García's work, you'll need that family tree to keep track of all the disputes, disappointed loves, abusive relationships, deaths and supernatural occurrences. It's unavoidable when the story focuses on the women of the del Pino family and their movements through geographical space and time.

The supernatural relationships further complicate the earthly ones and play actively alongside them in the family saga. Jorge may be dead, but that will in no way stop him from interacting with Lourdes and Celia and having a say in daily actions. The orishas worshipped by the santeros also have a very real presence and influence in the lives of believers and the merely curious.

Since the story has a sizeable timeline (if you include Celia's letters), it means that several of the characters are moving from innocence to maturity and gaining some level of insight into their lives. We know for sure that Pilar's narrative is a full-on coming-of-age story—note her movement from adolescent rebellion to thoughtful, sensitive adult. But Celia is also constantly moving from one plane of understanding to another, and Ivanito is just about to start his journey of self-discovery.

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