Cristina García was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1958. In 1961, her family fled Fidel Castro’s revolution, emigrating to Brooklyn, New York. García did not return to Cuba until 1984, more than twenty-five years after her family left. At that time, she reestablished contact with her mother’s family, especially her maternal grandmother, who had remained behind after the revolution. From her grandmother’s stories, García learned about a different side of the revolution and its effects on her family members. The discovery of the differing views of the revolution within her own family was a major thematic force behind her first novel, Dreaming in Cuban (1992). Upon the birth of her daughter, Pilar, García began returning regularly to Cuba so that her daughter would learn about all aspects of her Cuban heritage. García completed her undergraduate degree at Barnard, where she discovered her passion for literature. Her passion was put on hold, however, as she had already been accepted into the master’s program in political science at Johns Hopkins University. After graduating from Johns Hopkins in 1981, she worked for Time magazine from 1983–1990. She served as a reporter, correspondent, and finally bureau chief in Miami, Florida, for a year before she quit her job to become a writer. She had loved the unexpected assignments, meeting different people, and learning about their cultures. Reporting trained her to focus on the small and precise details of a story, a skill that has served her well in her fiction.
The stories García covered for Time magazine, in addition to her own experiences with the Miami Cubans and her visits back to Cuba, inspired her