A new life across the ocean
In Armando Lucas Correa’s latest novel, four women embark on journeys of self-discovery in times of WWII Germany and the Cuban Revolution
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In 2017, Armando Lucas Correa — a Cuban writer, journalist and editor who resides in New York — published The German Girl, the story of a young Jewish girl who flees Nazi-occupied Germany with her family and starts a new life in Cuba. The book became an international bestseller that has been translated into 16 languages and published in more than 30 countries. His second novel, The Daughter's Tale (Atria Books, Simon & Schuster) was published on May 7, 2019, and is also inspired by one of the most fateful episodes of World War II. It's the story of the MS St. Louis, a German ocean liner that left Hamburg for Havana in 1939 with hundreds of Jewish refugees, of whom only 28 were admitted to the island. In January 2023, Correa published the third book of the trilogy, The Night Travelers, his "most Cuban novel," as the author told El Nuevo Herald.
The story starts in Berlin, 1931. Ally Keller, a talented young poet, is alone and scared when she gives birth to a mixed-race daughter she names Lilith. As the Nazis rise to power, Ally knows she must keep her baby in the shadows to protect her against Hitler’s deadly ideology of Aryan purity. But as she grows, it becomes more and more difficult to keep Lilith hidden so Ally sets in motion a dangerous and desperate plan to send her daughter across the ocean to safety.
Havana, 1958: Now an adult, Lilith has few memories of her mother or her childhood in Germany. Besides, she’s too excited for her future with her beloved Martin, a Cuban pilot with strong ties to the Batista government. But as the flames of revolution ignite, Lilith and her newborn daughter, Nadine, find themselves at a terrifying crossroads.
Berlin, 1988: As a scientist in Berlin, Nadine is dedicated to ensuring the dignity of the remains of all those who were murdered by the Nazis. Yet she has spent her entire lifetime avoiding the truth about her own family’s history. It takes her daughter, Luna, to encourage Nadine to uncover the truth about the choices her mother and grandmother made to ensure the survival of their children. And it will fall to Luna to come to terms with a shocking betrayal that changes everything she thought she knew about her family’s past.
"In my three novels I try to bring to light episodes of history that we tend to forget or put aside for different reasons. The tragedy of the MS Saint Louis is one of them. Let's think that it was not until 2009, during the presidency of Barack Obama, that the U.S. Senate issued Resolution 111, which 'recognizes the suffering of those refugees caused by the refusal of the governments of Cuba, the United States and Canada to grant them political asylum,'" he told El Nuevo Herald. "Those mistakes of history we carry with us to this day. The Holocaust, for my children, is something inconceivable that happened a long time ago. I try, in my novels, to find the connection of that past — which for some is very distant — with the present," he added.
Correa entered the world of print journalism in 1988 when he was appointed the editor of Tablas, a national theater and dance magazine based in Havana.
His career as an American journalist started in 1991 at El Nuevo Herald, The Miami Herald's Spanish edition. He moved to New York in 1997, to work as a senior writer at People en Español, and was the magazine's Editor in Chief from 2007 until 2022.
He is a graduate of The University of Arts in Cuba (Instituto Superior de Arte) and has a postgraduate degree in journalism from the University of Havana.
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