Virtual author event featuring Elizabeth Graver and Aaron Hamburger
March 19, 2024 @ 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Be a part of a 2 author virtual panel featuring Elizabeth Graver, author of Kantika, and Aaron Hamburber, author of Hotel Cuba!
A kaleidoscopic portrait of one family’s displacement across four countries, Kantika—’song’ in Ladino—follows the joys and losses of Rebecca Cohen, feisty daughter of the Sephardic elite of early 20th-century Istanbul. When the Cohens lose their wealth and are forced to move to Barcelona and start anew, Rebecca fashions a life and self from what comes her way—a failed marriage, the need to earn a living, but also passion, pleasure, and motherhood. Moving from Spain to Cuba to New York for an arranged second marriage, she faces her greatest challenge—her disabled stepdaughter, Luna, whose feistiness equals her own and whose challenges pit new family against old.
Fleeing the chaos of World War I and the Soviet Revolution, practical, sensible Pearl Kahn and her lovestruck, impulsive younger sibling Frieda hope to reach America. But when discriminatory new immigration laws bar their entry, the young women sail instead to Havana, Cuba, convinced that there they will find a way to overcome this setback. Life in big-city Prohibition-era Havana is overwhelming, like nothing Pearl and Frieda could have imagined in the rural shtetl where they grew up. A heartbreaking, epic family story, Hotel Cuba explores the profound courage of two women displaced from their home who strive to create a new future in an enticing and dangerous world far different from anything they have ever known.
This event is part of the Cleveland Jewish Book Festival and was funded in part by an Ohio Humanities Ignite Grant.