Dominicana
by Cruz, Angie






The award-winning author of Soledad draws on her mother's story in a tale set in a turbulent 1960s Dominican Republic, where a young teen agrees to marry a man twice her age to help her family's immigration to America.





Angie Cruz is the author of the novels Soledad and Let It Rain Coffee, a finalist in 2007 for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. She has published work in The New York Times, VQR, Gulf Coast Literary Journal, and other publications, and has received fellowships from the New York Foundation of the Arts, Yaddo, and the MacDowell Colony. She is founder and editor in chief of Aster(ix), a literary and arts journal, and is an associate professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh.





*Starred Review* Cruz masterfully provides insight into the 1960s Dominican immigration to the U.S. through the experiences of her 15-year-old protagonist, Ana Canción. The vivid descriptions of the pressures Ana endures at home set the context for her expedient marriage to the much older Juan Ruiz, who will enable her family to move to New York City. Cruz is consistently strong in her characterization and treats everyone from the desperately ambitious Mama to the conflicted Juan with empathy, while Ana is her crowning achievement as she emerges from girlhood to become a resolute and focused young woman. Sensual and fearful of sin, Ana struggles to choose between obligation and love, her husband and his younger brother. This is not an immigrant tale about magically achieving the American dream or any other successes; instead it captures the gritty reality of starting out in a new land with no real footholds. In Ana's fierce dreams for her child, and Juan's tender hopes for the next generation, Cruz creates an unforgettable portrayal of immigrant motivation. Cruz's ability to create mood and atmosphere with her distinctive writing style make her a strong voice in Dominican American literature. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.





Ana Canción is 15 when her parents marry her off to 32-year-old Juan Ruiz as part of a business arrangement, and she leaves her family farm in the Dominican Republic to move to New York City. In this coming-to-America story, the harsh realities of immigration are laid bare, but equally clear are the resilience and resourcefulness of the people who choose to make a new life far from home. It's the early 1960s, and there is tumult in the U.S. and abroad-the Vietnam War is raging, and the D.R. plunges into chaos when dictator Rafael Trujillo is assassinated. Author Cruz (Let It Rain Coffee, 2006, etc.) based the book on her own mother's experiences, and Ana's narration is wry and absorbing. Once Ana has arrived at her new apartment in Washington Heights, Juan proves himself to be a lousy husband, at best demanding and at worst abusive. At first, Ana's days are a bleak litany of chores and unwanted sex. But slowly, her life in New York begins to broaden, especially when Juan travels back to the D.R. on an extended business trip. By now, Ana is pregnant, but with Juan away, she is free to take English classes from the nuns across the street and scheme up ways to earn her own money, selling fried pastelitos with the help of her brother-in-law, César. César is younger than Juan, more fun than his brother, and kinder, too. César reminds Ana that joy exists-and that it can be hers-as when he surprises her with her first hot dog at Coney Island. Ultimately, though, Ana is her own strength and salvation. As she tells her ill-fated brother, Yohnny, before she leaves for New York, "I don't need anyone to save me." A moving, sad, and sometimes disarmingly funny take on migration and the forces that propel us into the world. Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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