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] joy to read." --The Cleveland Plain Dealer
The New York Times Book Review
"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
The San Diego Tribune
"Subtle . . . Powerful . . . Reveals the intricacies of family, the impact of culture and place, and the profound power of language." --The San Diego Tribune
The Washington Post Book World
"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
Julia Alvarez's brilliant first book of fiction sets the Garcia girls free to tell their irrepressibly intimate stories about how they came to be at home -- and not at home -- in America.
"A warm, honest rendering of family life." --Elle Magazine
"She has beautifully captured the threshold experience of the new immigrant." --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
When she was ten years old, Julia Alvarez's family had to flee the Dominican Republic because her father had been involved in a coup against dictator Trujillo. Four months later, most of her father's co-conspirators were killed. These dangerous times and her experience of exile were formative for Alvarez as a writer: "What made me into a writer was coming to this country . . . all of a sudden losing a culture, a homeland, a language, a family . . . I wanted a portable homeland. And that's the imagination." Exile became the basis for two of Alvarez's best-selling novels: How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents (1991) and its sequel, Yo!(1997). Her father's revolutionary ties inspired In the Time of the Butterflies(1994). Those novels have won many honors, including the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award, ALA Notable Book of the Year, American Bookseller's "Top 10 Books to Discuss" and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. They have been translated into nine languages. Something to Declare, Julia Alvarez's first nonfiction book, a collection of her best and most influential essays, was published in 1998.