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De suikeroogst van La Amada

door Cristina Garcia

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1573135,656 (3.48)6
In this deeply stirring novel, acclaimed author Cristina García follows one extraordinary family through four generations, from China to Cuba to America. Wonderfully evocative of time and place, rendered in the lyrical prose that is García’s hallmark, Monkey Hunting is an emotionally resonant tale of immigration, assimilation, and the prevailing integrity of self.… (meer)
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Toon 3 van 3
A mixed bag. On the one hand, I learned about a part of history and a place and a culture (two or three cultures) that I knew next to nothing about. And some of the characters, patriarch Chen Pan in particular, were quite memorable. But the episodic, dyschronological narrative muddled the story, and I'm not a big fan of sweeping family sagas in any case. And though the tale in the order it's told ends satisfyingly enough, in actual chronological order things don't proceed as well, and they certainly don't proceed to an effective point. ( )
  Charon07 | Jul 16, 2021 |
You know how I had mentioned in my post on Wayson Choy’s Jade Peony that I am apprehensive about reading Chinese immigrant stories? So why was it that immediately after reading Jade Peony, I picked up Cristina Garcia’s Monkey Hunting? I’m not sure myself. But from Vancouver’s Chinatown, I found myself in Cuba, following Chen Pan who in 1857 travels from China to be enslaved (unsuspectingly so) on a sugarcane plantation. He somehow makes it out of the plantation, becomes his own boss (he sells secondhand goods) and buys a mulatto woman out of slavery.

Of course, immigrant stories are never told just by that one generation alone, so Garcia throws us over to New York in 1968 where we meet Domingo, Chen Pan’s great-grandson, and also to Shanghai in the 1920s where Chen Fang, Chen Pan’s granddaughter beats the odds and finds work as an educator. These sudden shifts in location, time and character can be a bit jarring, especially when I was more interested in the goings-on in Cuba (I never thought I’d read a story about Chinese immigrants in Cuba, for one thing) and the way these other sections felt more like anecdotes and left many questions, and just felt somewhat incomplete. Perhaps a more sweeping story, allowing for a greater focus on the lives on Chen Pan’s descendants would have been better?

Today, writing this, a week after reading this book (and having gone on to several others since), Chen Pan’s story still sticks in my mind but those of his descendants, not so much. Garcia’s book offers up a unique setting for the immigrant story, and a rather engaging start, but in the end, it was a little forgettable and a bit confusing. ( )
  RealLifeReading | Jan 19, 2016 |
I bought this book two years ago because I thought it would tell me about Cuba, a country which, for me, is shrouded in mystery.

I did learn a bit of Cuba's history, but from the side of the Chinese immigrants who were enslaved in the sugar cane fields in the 19th century. Chen Pan was in his early 20s when he was paid 5 pesos to go to Cuba to work for 8 years. He expected to return to China a wealthy man, but instead was enslaved. Sometime later he escapes from the cane fields and for a year makes his way through the jungle to Havana. Once there he works menial jobs, saving his money, until he can purchase a shop and begin an antiques business. Later he buys a negro slave woman, Lucrezia, and her son to work in the shop. Chen Pan treats her with kindness and she eventually falls in love with him. Through their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren the story of the family unfolds, traveling from Cuba, back to China, to New York, Saigon, Shanghai, and back to Cuba again. All the characters were interesting, but none more so than Chen Pan, who assimilates and feels more Cuban than Chinese. ( )
  whymaggiemay | Apr 1, 2010 |
Toon 3 van 3
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In this deeply stirring novel, acclaimed author Cristina García follows one extraordinary family through four generations, from China to Cuba to America. Wonderfully evocative of time and place, rendered in the lyrical prose that is García’s hallmark, Monkey Hunting is an emotionally resonant tale of immigration, assimilation, and the prevailing integrity of self.

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