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by Cruz, Angie.

Format: Print Book 2001
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
Wilkinsburg Public Library Fiction FIC CRU
Location  Wilkinsburg Public Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  FIC CRU
Tía Gorda has always claimed Soledad was born con la pata caliente -- with feet burning to be anywhere but here. In truth, Soledad couldn't wait to get beyond the stifling confines of West 164th Street, away from her superstitious, contentious family with their endless tragedies and petty fights; from the leering men with their potbellies, the slick-skinned teen girls with their raunchy mouths and snapping gum. At eighteen, Soledad couldn't get away from the volume and the violence of the barrio some call Dominican Heights fast enough. Two years later, an art student at Cooper Union with a gallery job and a hip East Village walk-up, Soledad feels eminently cool and infinitely far from the neighborhood where she grew up. But when Gorda calls with the news that Olivia, Soledad's mother, has lapsed into an emotional coma, Soledad knows she hasn't escaped la familia. Gorda insists Soledad's return is the only thing that will cure Olivia. Fighting the memories of the life she's left -- the broken hydrants on littered corners, her jealous cousin Flaca, her bizarre mother and, curiously, images of her mother's Dominican youth -- Soledad returns home to Washington Heights. Her journey has only begun. As Soledad tries to salvage her damaged relationship with Olivia, tame Flaca's raucous behavior, tolerate her zany Tía Gorda and resist falling for Richie, a soulful, intense man from the neighborhood, she also faces the greatest challenge of her life: confronting the ghosts from her mother's past. Rich, evocative and wise, Soledad is a wondrous story of culture and chaos, of family and integrity, myth and mysticism. Angie Cruz is a dazzling new voice, a Latina literary light whose passionate debut in Soledad surely marks the beginning of a remarkable career.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "In her first novel, Cruz effectively uses the narrative voices of a fictional Dominican American family to create a collective consciousness of the family. Strong ties to their homeland and the socioeconomic realities of biculturalism in the U.S. bring the realism of the immigrant experience to the novel. Soledad, the title character, acts as the main voice and protagonist in this funny, compassionate, and sometimes sad story. The illness of her mother, Olivia, takes Soledad back to everything she wanted to escape: her Washington Heights neighborhood, its Dominican culture, and even her family. Gorda, her aunt, puts all her skills as a curandera to the test to chase away the bad spirits and heal Olivia. Those spirits have invaded Olivia's life and drawn her into a world of sleep and dreams. Cruz is similar to Sandra Cisneros, with her fleshed out, multigenerational family members and colorful neighbors who struggle and survive in the barrio. Life is both bitter and sweet, and the past can overlap with the present. --Eileen Hardy"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "To write the definitive novel of a New York neighborhood can be to strike literary gold just ask Jonathan Lethem. Washington Heights native and Dominican activist Cruz stakes a clumsy claim to the area with this overwrought first effort. Soledad, a talented young artist on scholarship at Cooper Union, has finally escaped 164th Street for a downtown apartment. When she is called back home for the summer to care for her widowed mother, Olivia, who has fallen into a psychosomatic coma, she is forced to confront the family secrets behind her father's death and her strained relationship with Olivia. Much of the novel is told from the point of view of Soledad's female relatives: her aunt Gorda, a "bruja" (witch) who treats her sister's ailments with home remedies and ceremonies; her cousin, Flaca, a fiery adolescent whose rivalry with Soledad is the main subplot; and Olivia herself, in italicized dream narration and flashbacks. These characters are more interesting than Soledad, a standard-issue "caught between two worlds" heroine, but they are hardly three-dimensional. While Cruz sometimes captures fresh details of behavior and the rhythms of Dominican neighborhood life, she rarely lets them work alone, opting to tell rather than show her characters' psychology in passages that read like particularly banal therapy sessions. The narrative is peppered with cliches: "[W]hen a woman says no, if [men] see a glimpse of flirting or lips that are smiling, no echoes yes, yes if you try hard enough you will get me." Gorda's homespun mysticism is fascinating at first, but by the end it becomes heavy-handed as Cruz strives for a lyrical catharsis she hasn't earned. Readers enticed by a lengthy blurb from Junot Diaz will be disappointed by a melodramatic plot and stale prose. Agent, Ellen Levine. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Dominican Americans -- Fiction.
Young women -- Fiction.
Washington Heights (New York, N.Y.) -- Fiction.
Domestic fiction.
Publisher New York :Simon & Schuster,2001
Language English
Description 237 pages ; 23 cm
ISBN 0743212010
Other Classic View