Set against a backdrop of world-changing events during the headiest years of the Cuban Revolution, Goodbye, My Havana follows young Connie Veltfort as her once relatively privileged life among a community of anti-imperialist expatriates turns to progressive disillusionment and heartbreak.
...by approaching Castro’s Cuba from the margins, that is, from Connie’s experience as a woman and member of its LGBTQ community, Veltfort creates a unique lens through which to observe the mechanisms by which a political system acts upon those who live within it... Despite...occasional misplaced interludes, Goodbye, My Havana offers a unique lens to view post-revolutionary Cuba, where utopian dreams were deferred for so many. It is also a resonant reminder that social movements are not defined by the rhetoric of their leaders, but by the freedoms afforded or denied to those communities that society most often marginalizes, and that it is in such communities that we are most likely to find the seeds of actual, meaningful change.
Anna Veltfort’s piercing graphic memoir Goodbye, My Havana reveals the oppression of Cuba’s citizens by the authoritarian Castro government, as witnessed and experienced by a young lesbian woman ... The book’s illustrations are clear and consistent throughout, a critical feature for a detailed story with many characters. The layouts weave into the book actual copies of newspaper headlines, propaganda posters, excerpts from Cuban magazines, and photos, as well as other relevant material, including text from Castro’s speeches. The result is a deep, penetrating stare into Castro’s Cuba. Though it is somewhat overshadowed by the political intrigue, Veltfort’s coming-of-age-story is also compelling. She’s plucky and endearing as both character and narrator. With its rare combination of skill, observation, circumstance, and experience, Goodbye, My Havana is an unforgettable graphic memoir.
[Veltfort's] busy art is framed and contextualized with period photo references and re-drawn news clips. Among often partisan portrayals of Cuba, Veltfort’s memoir of a rare life’s triumphs and tragedies stands out for its nuanced portrayal.