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Banana Heart Summerby Merlinda Bobis
Synopses & Reviews
In her lush, luminous debut novel, Merlinda Bobis creates a dazzling feast for all the senses. Richly imagined, gloriously written, Banana Heart Summer is an incandescent tale of food, family, and longing — at once a love letter to mothers and daughters and a lively celebration of friendship and community.
Twelve-year-old Nenita is hungry for everything: food, love, life. Growing up with five sisters and brothers, she searches for happiness in the magical smell of the deep-frying bananas of Nana Dora, who first tells Nenita the myth of the banana heart; in the tantalizing scent of Manolito, the heartthrob of Nenita and her friends; in the pungent aromas of the dishes she prepares for the most beautiful woman on Remedios Street. To Nenita, food is synonymous with love — the love she yearns to receive from her disappointed mother. But in this summer of broken hearts, new friendships, secrets, and discoveries, change will be as sudden and explosive as the monsoon that marks the end of the sweltering heat — and transforms Nenita's young life in ways she could never imagine.
"Poet Bobis serves up compassion and tenderness in generous portions in her fiction debut. Twelve-year-old Nenita is the first of six children born to her destitute parents in a Filipino village. Hungry and abused by her overwhelmed mother, Nenita drops out of school one summer in the hopes of earning enough money to support the growing family. Hired as the house girl of her well-to-do neighbors, the Valenzuelas, she befriends her mistress, the beautiful Seorita VV. The entire village experiences profound change during that sweltering summer, mirroring Nenita's coming-of-age. Nenita's passion for food sustains her through difficulties of all sorts, and she relishes each morsel and taste as a treasured gift, even as she faces continued difficulty." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Bobis serves up compassion and tenderness in generous portions in her fiction debut." Publishers Weekly
In her award-winning debut novel, Bobis creates a dazzling feast for all the senses. Richly imagined, Banana Heart Summer is an incandescent tale of food, family, and longing — at once a love letter to mothers and daughters and a lively celebration of friendship and community.
About the Author
Merlinda Bobis has received numerous awards, prizes and fellowships for her fiction, poetry and plays, among them the Prix Italia for Rita's Lullaby, the Steel Rudd Award for the Best Published Collection of Australian Short Stories, the Judges' Choice Award (Bumbershoot Bookfair, Seattle Arts Festival) and the Philippine National Book Award for White Turtle, or The Kissing, and the Philippine Balagtas Award, a lifetime achievement award for her fiction and poetry in English, Pilipino and Bicol. Her plays have been performed in Australia, the Philippines, France, China, Thailand and the Slovak Republic. Banana Heart Summer is her first novel; its Australian edition was short-listed for the Australian Literary Society Gold Medal. Her second novel, The Solemn Lantern Maker, will be released in the U.S. in 2009. As a performer for stage and radio, Merlinda works with artists from various genres. She lives in Australia where she teaches creative writing.
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