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How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accentsby Julia Alvarez
Synopses & Reviews
The Garcías — Dr. Carlos (Papi), his wife Laura (Mami), and their four daughters, Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofía — belong to the uppermost echelon of Spanish Caribbean society, descended from the conquistadores. Their family compound adjoins the palacio of the dictator's daughter. So when Dr. García's part in a coup attempt is discovered, the family must flee.
They arrive in New York City in 1960 to a life far removed from their existence in the Dominican Republic. Papi has to find new patients in the Bronx. Mami, far from the compound and the family retainers, must find herself. Meanwhile, the girls try to lose themselves — by forgetting their Spanish, by straightening their hair and wearing fringed bell bottoms. For them, it is at once liberating and excruciating being caught between the old world and the new, trying to live up to their father's version of honor while accommodating the expectations of their American boyfriends. Acclaimed writer Julia Alvarez's brilliant and buoyant first novel sets the García girls free to tell their most intimate stories about how they came to be at home — and not at home — in America.
"A clear-eyed look at the insecurity and yearning for a sense of belonging that are a part of the immigrant experience....Movingly told." The Washington Post Book World
"[A] joy to read." The Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Subtle....Powerful....Reveals the intricacies of family, the impact of culture and place, and the profound power of language." The San Diego Tribune
"Poignant....Powerful....Beautifully capture[s] the threshold experience of the new immigrant, where the past is not yet a memory." The New York Times Book Review
It's a long way from Santo Domingo to the Bronx, but if anyone can go the distance, it's the Garcia girls. Four lively Latinas plunge from a pampered life of privilege on an island compound into the big-city chaos of New York, where they embrace all that America has to offer.
About the Author
Alvarez is a poet and fiction writer. She teaches creative writing and literature at Middlebury College.
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