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Finding Manana: A Memoir of a Cuban Exodus (Paperback)
Finding Manana is a vibrant, moving memoir of one family's life in Cuba and their wrenching departure. Mirta Ojito was born in Havana and raised there until the unprecedented events of the Mariel boatlift brought her to Miami, one teenager among more than a hundred thousand fellow refugees. Now a reporter for The New York Times, Ojito goes back to reckon with her past and to find the people who set this exodus in motion and brought her to her new home. She tells their stories and hers in superb and poignant detail-chronicling both individual lives and a major historical event.
Growing up, Ojito was eager to excel and fit in, but her parents'--and eventually her own--incomplete devotion to the revolution held her back. As a schoolgirl, she yearned to join Castro's Young Pioneers, but as a teenager in the 1970s, when she understood the darker side of the Cuban revolution and learned more about life in el norte from relatives living abroad, she began to wonder if she and her parents would be safer and happier elsewhere. By the time Castro announced that he was opening Cuba's borders for those who wanted to leave, she was ready to go; her parents were more than ready: They had been waiting for this opportunity since they married, twenty years before.
Finding Manana gives us Ojito's own story, with all of the determination and intelligence--and the will to confront darkness--that carried her through the boatlift and made her a prizewinning journalist. Putting her reporting skills to work on the events closest to her heart, she finds the boatlift's key players twenty-five years later, from the exiles who negotiated with Castro to the Vietnam vet on whose boat, Manana, she finally crossed the treacherous Florida Strait. Finding Manana is the engrossing and enduring story of a family caught in the midst of the tumultuous politics of the twentieth century.
About the Author
Mirta Ojito was born in Havana, Cuba, and came to the United States in 1980 in the Mariel boatlift. She has received the American Society of Newspaper Editors' Award for best foreign reporting, and she shared the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting, for her contribution to the series "How Race Is Lived in America." Her work has appeared in several anthologies, including Written into History: Pulitzer Prize Reporting of the Twentieth Century from The New York Times, edited by Anthony Lewis. Ojito has taught journalism at New York University, Columbia University, and the University of Miami. She writes for The New York Times from Miami.