Gustavo Pérez Firmat arrived in America with his family at the age of eleven. Victims of Castro’s revolution, the Pérez family put their life on hold, waiting for Castro’s fall. Each Christmas, along with other Cuban families in the neighborhood, they celebrated with the cry, “Next year in Cuba.”
Growing up in the Dade County school system, and graduating from college in Florida, Pérez Firmat was insulated from America by the nurturing sights and sounds of Little Havana. It wasn’t until he left home to attend graduate school at the University of Michigan that he realized, as the Cuba of his birth receded farther into the past, he had become no longer wholly Cubano, but increasingly a man of two heritages and two countries.
In a searing memoir of a family torn apart by exile, Pérez Firmat chronicles the painful search for roots that has come to dominate his adult life. With one brother beset by personal problems and another embracing the very revolution that drove their family out of Cuba, Gustavo realized that the words “Next Year in Cuba,” had, for him, taken on a hollow ring. Now, married to an American woman, and father to two children who are Cuban in name only, Pérez Firmat has finally come to acknowledge his need to celebrate his love of Cuba, while embracing the America he has come to love.
“Next Year in Cuba is a valuable and heartfelt addition to the canon of Cuban-American writing. A fine portrait of a family and culture in transition.”
—Oscar Hijuelos, author of Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love
“The Cuban-American memoir we’ve all been waiting for . . . a rare and exceptional jewel of a book . . . the pleasures and perils of the Cuban-American experience become our own in this moving and engrossing read.”
—Virgil Suárez, author of Latin Jazz and Havana Thursdays
Gustavo Pérez Firmat is the author of Anything but Love (Arte Público Press, 2000) and El año que viene estamos en Cuba (Arte Público Press, 1997). A poet, fiction writer, and scholar, Pérez Firmat is the author of ten books and over seventy essays and reviews. His books of literary and cultural criticism include My Own Private Cuba (Society of Spanish & Spanish, 1999), Life on the Hyphen: The Cuban-American Way (University of Texas Press, 1994), Idle Fictions (Duke University Press, 1993), Do the Americas Have a Common Literature? (Duke University Press, 1990), and The Cuban Condition (Cambridge University Press, 1989). He has also published three collections of poetry: Bilingual Blues (Bilingual Review Press, 1995), Equivocaciones (1989), and Carolina Cuban (1987). The English-language edition of his memoir, El año que viene estamos en Cuba, Next Year in Cuba: A Cubano’s Coming of Age in America (Anchor Books, 1995), was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in non-fiction in 1995. Pérez Firmat is also the author of Cincuenta Lecciones de Exilio y Desexilio (Ediciones Universal, 2000), Triple Crown: Chicano, Puerto Rican, and Cuban-American Poetry (Bilingual Review Press, 1997), and Cuban American Writers: Los Atrevidos (Linden Lane Press, 1989). In 1995, he was named Duke University Scholar/Teacher of the Year, Duke University’s highest award for teaching excellence. Pérez Firmat earned his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Michigan. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with his wife and two children.