“These stories have an appealing colloquial voice, peppered with Spanglish. Milanés’s depictions of Cuban-American culture are vibrant.”—New York Times Book Review
“In these stories, Cuban exiles and their descendants struggle with questions of alienation, love and loyalty to family and their culture. What makes Cecilia Rodríguez Milanés a writer to be reckoned with is that she tells Lala and Ofelia and Roxana and the other characters’ stories, but in so doing manages to tell all of our stories.”—Ann Hood
“With Oye What I’m Gonna Tell You, spellbinding storyteller Cecilia Rodríguez Milanés delivers on that you-must-listen-up promise of her title, gifting readers with a pitch-perfect array of characters and voices that captivate, enthrall, and illuminate. The world spins on, yet in varying ways Cuba has left a mark on each of these individuals—the island a sun around which they will forever orbit to some degree—and to read these unflinching stories is to feel the poignant truth of actual lives and actual struggles. A collection that is as important as it is engrossing.”—Skip Horack, author of The Other Joseph, The Eden Hunter, and The Southern Cross
“Oye What I’m Gonna Tell You gives us an urgent glimpse into the lives of people yearning to fully understand their place in the world. Through these myriad voices, Milanés evokes a sense of the vital oral traditions that have shaped our community. These stories enrich and complicate an important, relevant conversation about what it means to exist on the hyphen — be it that of Cuban-American or any other truly American experience.”—Jennine Capó Crucet, author of How to Leave Hialeah and Make Your Home Among Strangers
“To be of color in America is to know difference in a profound way. In Oye, What I’m Gonna Tell You, Cecilia Rodríguez Milanés writes a risky, remarkable, and necessary story collection. Milanés creates extraordinary characters each of whom is striking out for territory unknown, both geographically and personally. There is a resilience of spirit in her Cuban-American characters, who make a home that is a hybrid of two worlds. Fresh and evocative, this is the story collection you’ll want to read this year.”—Nina McConigley, author of Cowboys and East Indians, winner of the 2014 PEN Open Book Award
When is your culture bad for you? That is the question that weaves its way through Oye What I’m Gonna Tell You, a startling collection chronicling the lives of Cuban Americans from WWII-era Havana to contemporary times in “el norte.” Whether they inhabit blue collar neighborhoods in the Northeast, the increasingly Latino-populated South, or Florida, the characters that populate this book—many of whom are the children and grandchildren of exiles, who have been raised in traditional Cuban homes but whose only homeland has been the United States—must decide what to take and what to leave from their upbringing.
Cecilia Rodríguez Milanés was born in New Jersey to Cuban parents. Her debut collection of stories, Marielitos, Balseros and Other Exiles (Ig Publishing, 2009), was followed by Everyday Chica, 2010 winner of the Longleaf Press Poetry Chapbook award. She lives in Orlando, Florida, where she teaches literature and writing at the University of Central Florida.