Synopses & Reviews
When this novel was first published in Rivera’s native Dominican Republic, readers were shocked. Expecting a light-hearted romp through Caribbean sunlight and music, they were stunned by the multilayered complexity and poetic power of the novel.
A coming-of-age story of two young girls—or is it is two sides of the same girl?—caught between the onslaught of U.S. consumer culture and the evolving Marxist ideologies of the Cuban revolution, the story reflects the loss of any sense of identity as the girls move toward adulthood. While one voice recounts and reflects upon the story of her close relationship with a more adventurous friend in an effort to understand that friend, the other voice tells the story of how the experiences recounted by the first voice feel to her from inside. Despite their shared existence, the two have vastly different realities. "All skin and bones at age 15 . . . Anorexia nervosa . . . but overall you look pretty happy," states the first voice as she looks at old photographs. Despite their closeness, she is unable to see that the death of the other’s father has left her unable to "shake free of the icy current that had left death buried in my chest." In their attempts to define who they are and how they will live their lives, they look for role models in writers and musicians, including Emily Dickinson, Lezama Lima, Alejandra Pizarnik, Carole King, Charlie Parker, Julio Cortazar and Rainier Maria Rilke, but as loss piles upon loss—loss of cultural identity, loss of lovers, loss of dreams, loss of a child—the women move ever closer to the realization that "the worst solitude is the one that is shared."
Martha Rivera, born in 1960 in the Dominican Republic, has published three volumes of poetry in addition to this novel.
A prizewinning novel exploring U.S. influence on life in the Dominican Republic.
Fiction. Latin American Studies. When this novel was first published, Dominican readers were stunned by its dark, poetic power. At last, someone had given voice to the profound sense of loss of national and personal identity felt by young Dominicans in the wake of an onslaught of U.S. culture. The two young women narrators of the novel reflect on events, but from very different perspectives. One views their experiences in the context of their external circumstances while the other tells a more personal story of how the experiences felt to her from the inside. As the women move into adulthood, they move ever closer to the virtual reality created by modern technology: facsimiles rather than originals and people who do not know who they are. Winner of the Casa de Teatro International Novel Prize.
A coming-of-age story of two young girls--or is it two sides of the same girl?--caught between the onslaught of U.S. consumer culture and the evolving Marxist ideologies of the Cuban revolution, this story reflects the loss of any sense of identity as the girls move toward adulthood.
Winner of the Premio International de Novela Casa de Teatro Award.
About the Author
Born in 1960 in the D.R., Rivera is a poet and fiction writer and won the prestigious Premio International de Novela Casa de Teatro award for this book in 1996. She has also published three volumes of poetry.