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The Region of Lost Namesby Fred Arroyo
Synopses & Reviews
Remember that the dream of one is the dream of everyone. Ernest is searching for a place where he can live beyond his past. His family has returned to Puerto Rico, and Ernest remains in the States, desiring only distance from his memories of childhood displacement and work, his parents' tumultuous relationship, and his own love for Magdalene. Magdalene, too, looks to move beyond her memories as she follows Ernest's family home, seeking resolution to her mother's hurtful secrets, her father's unknown identity, and her love for Ernest. As Ernest moves through the fields of Michigan, as Magdalene traverses the jungles of Puerto Rico and the shores of the Caribbean, they discover that their dreams and identities are linked within the framework of their families and their pasts.
Together, Ernest and Magdalene must come to terms with the secrets and mistakes made by the previous generation, the histories of disloyalty and abandonment, of secrecy and sorrow. Their struggles take place in a region of lost names, where loves and memories are banished and found. Fred Arroyo writes a story in two voices, following Ernest and Magdalene by turns in prose that is elegant and lyrical. His words evoke another world lush with the scent of salt spray, the taste of mangoes, and the rush of leaves, alive with characters whose ardors and pathos are achingly real.
Arroyo explores the ebb and flow between past and present and themes that are enduring. Ultimately, Ernest and Magdalene must live with more than their memories; they must rediscover the intimacies of the region of lost names.
"In urgent, alternating voices, the characters in The Region of Lost Names lay bare the harsh consequences of family secrecy and self-hatred, avoidance and self-exile. Arroyo delivers a novel laced through with a very American desire for internal scrutiny: the urge we all have to take personal journeys of redemption, and our efforts to turn 'pain into something just on the edge of forgiveness.' "Manuel Muñoz, author of The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue
About the Author
Fred Arroyo is a published writer of fiction, poetry, and essays and an assistant professor of fiction writing at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
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