A Cuban Summer is a humorous coming of age story, built on the premise that it was complicated to grow up a boy in the Havana of the Fifties. Tony de la Torre, the main character, is thirteen when the story starts. He is somewhat shy with girls, he’s obsessed with sex, and at the same time, he has a very romantic inclination. He listens to love songs on the radio and can’t wait to start his romantic history. He is interested in Carmen, a girl from his social class whom he admires from a distance. Meanwhile, Gonzalo, his family’s chauffeur, wants to take him to a brothel, an ageless Havana coming-of-age tradition. Tony resists at first, but eventually he goes to the Mambo Club, Havana’s most elegant brothel, and quickly falls in love with one of the women. That infatuation ends badly. He focuses again on Carmen, with whom he is having some interesting conversations, but is distracted when he meets Sarah, a vacationing American girl who is not adverse to drinking and necking. Tony thinks he is in love again, but his adventure ends when Sarah leaves. His misery is interrupted when the innocent courtship that he has been conducting all along with Carmen heats up.
Tony gives an overview of the book:
I'm the author of three photography books that combine personal stories with photographs. (Ernie: A Photographer's Memoir, Stories, Cuba: Going Back). I was also a professor in the Art Department at the Ohio State University for 25 years. (I retired this year.) This...