1. Before reading Next Year In Havana, did you know much about the political history of Cuba? Did you learn much? Did it make you want to learn more?
2. The novel goes back and forth between Eliza Perez life in the 1950s and her granddaughter’s Marisol Ferrera’s trip to Cuba in 2017. Which story line did you enjoy the most? Who did you identify with? Did you find their stories similar?
3. Identity is one of the main themes. Marisol was bought up in the United States but when she visited Cuba she did not feel Cuban. How does physical location affects one’s identity? How does Marisol perspective change by the time she leaves Cuba? What traditions and ritual does Marisol’s family past down to keep their heritage alive?
4. Marisol was a Cuban-American and a journalist but it was still dangerous for her in Cuba, why was that? What were the unseen dangers? How different do you think it was in Cuba in the 1950s and 2010s?
5. Marisol’s trip to Cuba was to honor her grandmother’s final wish of her ashes being scattered on Cuban soil. Can you understand her wish? Did Marisol pick the right spot? Where else do you think would be appropriate?
6. What did you think of Marisol and Luis’ relationship? Was their holiday romance real? Did you think they were well suited?
7. Do you think Elisa and Pablo were well suited? How did the Cuban revolution affect their relationship? Do you think Elisa would have stayed in Cuba with Pablo if she didn’t find out that he was killed?
8. What similarities did you see with Pablo and Luis vision of Cuba? Would you fight for change from inside the country, or can changes be made outside of Cuba? Do you think it is courageous to stay in Cuba and fight from within?
9.History seems to repeat itself in Cuba. First with Batista, then Castro. Can you envision a Cuba that isn’t fractured? How do you envision Cuba, say 50 years from now?
10. It was common practice in Cuba to bury things in the yard or the walls of the house to keep them safe for when you come back. Elisa buried a box that contained letters from Pablo. What would Marisol bury? What cherished items would you bury?
11. There were many themes in the book such as identity, love, sacrifice, courage, exile, political fear and uncertainty to name a few. Which theme impacted you the most?
12. Were you surprised with twist at the end? Did you see it coming?
13. Did you like the ending? What do you think the future holds for with Marisol and Luis? Will they end up together?
14. Who would you recommend Next Year In Havana to? Will you go on to check out Cleeton’s other works?
Enhance Your Book Club:
Check out Study Guide: Next Year In Havana for chapter summaries and analysis of the book. Also included are commentary on characters, key themes and quotes.
Make a party of it and cook Cuba’s national dish Ropa Vieja!