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Song of the Water Saintsby Nelly Rosario
Synopses & Reviews
“The circle of myth, history, longing, and grief in Song of the Water Saints will envelop the reader as it does the lives of Nelly Rosario’s beautifully realized characters.”
—Maureen Howard, author of A Lover’s Almanac
Poetic, transporting, and heartbreaking, this debut novel traces the lives of three generations of courageous Dominican women.
First there is Graciela: a young girl rebelling against the strictures of her poor, rural life in the Dominican Republic in the early 1900s, she searches for her true destiny even as it lures her away from her husband and baby daughter. . . . Then there is Mercedes, passionately devoted to the Church, who rears herself after the death of her beloved stepfather, eventually marrying and moving with her husband to New York City, where she will bring up her granddaughter. . . . Coming of age in the freewheeling 1990s—and bringing the story full circle—Leila has without a doubt inherited the restless genes of great-grandmother Graciela. . . .
The intimate details of life in New York and the Dominican Republic, the broad strokes of history, the subtleties of familial connection amid changing notions of home and obligation—all are rendered with grace and gritty realism in this remarkably accomplished novel.
"What a refreshingly wonderful debut....Nelly Rosario has woven a rich tapestry of Dominican history with the vivid details of unforgettable lives. Poetic, transporting, heartbreaking. Bravo." Cristina Garcia, author of The Aguero Sisters and Dreaming in Cuban
"Song of the Water Saints does not mess around, it's fun, intelligent and unnerving. It's the story of four women and the story of an island, histories deftly observed. Nelly Rosario's wonderful first novel manages what few literary works do: to meld entertainment and elucidation. I couldn't put the damn thing down, it kept moving me." Victor LaValle, author of Slapboxing with Jesus
"The circle of myth, history, longing and grief in Song of the Water Saints will envelope the reader as it does the lives of Nelly Rosario's beautifully realized characters. This brilliant first novel reaches back to the colonial past of the Dominican Republic with a depth of knowledge and feeling, with a resepct for hard lessons of the past that must inform a quest for personal freedom. The family story is carried forward to the continuing struggle for identity in the barrios of New York. Nelly Rosario displays a gift only given to a true writer in her command of the many voices which make up the song of her novel." Maureen Howard, author of A Lover's Almanac
About the Author
Nelly Rosario was born in 1972 in the Dominican Republic and moved to New York three months later. She earned a Bachelor?s degree in Engineering from MIT and an MFA in Fiction from Columbia University. She has received numerous awards including a 1999 Barbara Deming Memorial Fund Fellowship, the Bronx Writers? Center Van Lier Literary Fellowship for 1999-2000, two National Arts Club Writing Fellowships, the 1997 Huston/Wright Award in Fiction, and most recently she has been chosen as a ?Writer on the Verge? by the Village Voice Literary Supplement for 2001. Rosario is published in the anthology Becoming American. She now lives in Brooklyn, NY with her daughter Olivia.
What Our Readers Are Saying
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