The Return of the Butterflies: Back to Cuba
by Elio F. Beltran
Lettra Press

"A butterfly with its promises of a return to abundance of the right and noble kind, far from the impositions of fear and the reign of lies shall arrive at long last."

Beltran dedicates this book to Cuba, both in the dedication inscription at the beginning and through his loving, passionate prose about his home country. Cuba, a country ravaged with war, inattention, and disconnectedness, is presented in a new light via a closer look at the buildings, people, and environment of Old Havana. Very quickly, the beauty of this land emerges for all readers.

The book, originally published in 2003, includes a new “After Words” discussing the status of the island country in the 21st century. The story of Michael is meant to be the story of the narrator. All characters are based on real people, which makes the narrative come alive throughout. The art and photos included help to further contextualize and realize these characters and the setting.

Chock-full of historical content, the book tells the story of Cuba, but it also tells a love story as well as a story about people. Michael regularly thinks back to his past as he conflicts with his present. As he states, thinking about the past helps him to understand his current situation. He is a man torn between two lands and two lives. Some additional proofreading would serve to enhance the effectiveness of the narrative. But other than that, this is an exciting and interesting read about both historical and contemporary Cuba. The author himself was exiled in 1960 and then became an American, and the reader can feel his struggles as Michael grapples with his own citizenship and, in turn, his loyalties.

Return to USR Home