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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.
In 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.
“16 Nonfiction Books You Need to Read as Soon as Possible” –Bustle
“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