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LA AMERICANA

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La Americana is the story of Melanie Bowden Simón, who, at the age of 25, left her job at Tina Brown’s Talk magazine following the death of her mother and decided to take a vacation in Havana, Cuba, with a friend. Little did she know that she would meet and fall in love with a Cuban man named Luis and dive headlong into a culture defined by beauty, humor, and grace within the unnerving realities of communism.

wedding-dayIn this memoir, Simón details her fascination with Cuban culture as she grapples with the death of her mother. She also covers the struggle to get in and out of Cuba at a time when the country is labeled a pariah state. Yet over and over again, Simón manages to overcome international barriers and overcome language and cultural obstacles—all in the name of her love for Luis.

“Bowden Simón’s travels and struggles are beautifully rendered in this evocative valentine to her mother, Cuba, and the power of love in the unlikeliest of places to heal a broken heart and spirit.” Publishers Weekly                                                      

 

“In her timely memoir, Melanie Bowden Simón gives us an intimate glimpse of a place-and a woman-on the cusp of dramatic change. La Americana is a romance, an adventure tale, and a raw depiction of loss that transcends place and time. The fact that this story is set in Cuba, though, makes for a fascinating and important read at this pivotal moment in U.S.-Cuba relations.”  Sarah McCammon, political reporter, NPR           

“16 Nonfiction Books You Need to Read as Soon as Possible” -Bustle

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REVIEWS

“How did Melanie Bowden Simón do it? She’s given the free world a book about everything: love, grief, food, travel, history, Communist regimes. This book is so good it should be illegal. Mark my words: The coming revolution in great writing about Cuba begins with La Americana.

Harrison Scott Key, author of The World’s Largest Man

Tracy Slater, author of The Good Shufu

La Americana is a love story that takes us where few other memoirs have gone before: through the back streets and history of Cuba. Like the lush landscape Simón traverses—first as a bewildered traveler fleeing grief, then as a woman falling headlong for a man she meets by chance and a forbidden culture that seduces her—this is a raw, rich tale of healing, self-discovery, and passion.”

 

Denise DiFulco, writer/former senior editor, Latina Magazine

“Melanie Bowden Simon captures Cuba’s enduring allure in her debut memoir. Through a fog of grief and the dark shadows of Cuba’s Communist society, she uncovers the indomitable soul of the island and finds a balm for her own—one that brings love, healing and release.”

Neil Young, author; host of the Past Present podcast

“Exhilarating, stunning, and deeply moving, La Americana grabs you from its first page and pulls you through its harrowing and heartwarming story of finding love under Cuba’s communist watch. A story of loss, love, and longing, La Americana will break your heart and stitch it back together again with its honesty, hope, and humor.”

BIO

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I am a freelance writer and publicist in Savannah, Georgia. La Americana: A Memoir (Skyhorse Publishing 2016) was deemed “a fascinating and important read at this pivotal moment in US-Cuba relations” by NPR political journalist Sarah McCammon and included in Bustle’s list of “16 Nonfiction Books from July 2016 You Need to Read as Soon as Possible.”

I was thrilled to be named a 2016 ’35 Over 35′ Debut Author – with shout-outs from The Huffington Post, LitHub, New York Public Library, Joyce Carol Oates and Ayelet Waldman – and receive favorable reviews in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Global Atlanta and Fresh Fiction.

Most of my personal time is spent with my Cuban-born husband, Luis, our three Spanglish-speaking kids and a bilingual Weimaraner named Paco.

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