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Aaron Hamburger: Hotel Cuba

(Fiction, 368 pp., 2023)

In the wake of revolutions and the calamities of World War I, two sis­ters escape the hopelessness of their 1920s Polish shtetl. Pearl reared her many siblings since their mother died a decade earlier, and has developed definite opinions about most things, including teenage Frieda’s romantic life-choices. Pearl’s sense of decorum is rivaled only by her talent with a needle and thread; Frieda’s only goal is reuniting with her fiance across the Atlantic. On the verge of boarding the ship, they hear the U.S. has restricted immigration. They decide Cuba is a close enough temporary destination, but get stuck in colorful and vibrant Havana while awaiting permission to enter the Goldene Medina. Their personal self-discoveries are at the heart of the journey, bringing to life the experiences of the author’s family.

  • Discussion questions from the author
  • Discussion guide from the author

  • Review and interview by Avner Landes, The Times of Israel, May 28, 2023

  • Review by Shauna McIntyre, Historical Novel Society, n.d.

  • Review by Jesse Szalay, Jewish Book Council, December 27, 2023

  • Reviews from Bookbrowse

  • Review by Audrey Lawrence, Fresh Fiction, May 11, 2023

  • Reviews by various writers, collected on author’s website

  • Interview with author by G.P. Gottlieb, New Books Network, May 16, 2023

  • Interview with author by Mogan Talty, Electric Literature, May 2, 2023

  • Interview with author by Sacha Pfeiffer, NPR, May 9, 2023

  • Interview with author by Susan Chessler, The Detroit Jewish News, June 29, 2023