News and views from the award-winning author of the novels The Skinny Years, America Libre, House Divided and Pancho Land

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Wynwood, 1959

Number 4 in a series of excerpts from The Skinny Years.

        About a half-mile inland on the cheap side of the bay, Wynwood was a tightly-packed grid of small houses and apartments—a low-rent area where the cooks, cabbies, mechanics, and maids whose labor greased Miami’s tourism machine rested their heads and raised their kids.

Surfers, soul brothers, hippies, and thugs — they’re all part of Victor “Skinny” Delgado’s world growing up in Miami during the turbulent 1960s. Fleeing the Castro regime in Cuba, Skinny’s once-wealthy family moves from a mansion in Havana to a roach-infested bungalow in Miami’s low-rent Wynwood district. Over the next ten years the Delgados struggle to survive in this strange new land—a place where fat men in red suits enter your home through the chimney, demons appear at the door begging for candy, and young women go on dates without chaperones. There’s only one constant in Skinny's world as he grows from 8 to 18. He longs in vain for the girl of his dreams: his neighbor Janice Bockman who seems everything American—and everything he’s not.

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