The Distant Marvels: A Novel

Europa Editions
4
Free sample

The acclaimed Cuban American author of Love and Ghost Letters delivers “a wonderful story about the stories we tell each other” set in 1960s Cuba (San Francisco Chronicle).
 
Cuba, 1963. Hurricane Flora, one of the deadliest in recorded history, is bearing down on the island. Seven women have been forcibly evacuated from their homes and herded into the former governor’s mansion. There they are watched over by another woman—Ofelia, a young soldier of Castro’s new Cuba. As the storm rages and the floodwaters rise, a cigar factory lector named Maria Sirena tells the incredible story of her childhood during Cuba’s Third War of Independence; of her father Augustin, a ferocious rebel; of her mother, Lulu, an astonishing woman who fought, loved, dreamed, and suffered as fiercely as her husband. But stories have a way of taking on a life of their own, and soon Maria will reveal more about herself than she or anyone ever expected.
 
Chantel Acevedo’s The Distant Marvels is an epic adventure tale, a family saga, a love story, a stunning historical account of armed struggle against oppressors, and a long tender plea for forgiveness. It is, finally, a life-affirming novel about the kind of love that lasts a lifetime and the very art of storytelling itself.
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About the author

Chantel Acevedo was born in Miami to Cuban parents. She is the author of A Falling Star (Carolina Wren Press, 2014), Love and Ghost Letters (St. Martins, 2006), winner of the Latino International Book Award, and The Distant Marvels (Europa, 2015). Acevedo is an Associate Professor of English in the MFA Program of the University of Miami.
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4.5
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Additional Information

Publisher
Europa Editions
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Published on
Apr 7, 2015
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9781609452629
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Hispanic & Latino
Fiction / Historical / General
Fiction / Women
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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#1 New York Times Bestseller
OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK

“Extraordinary.”
—Stephen King

“This book is not simply the great American novel; it’s the great novel of las Americas. It’s the great world novel! This is the international story of our times. Masterful.”
—Sandra Cisneros

También de este lado hay sueños. On this side, too, there are dreams.

Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed. It is a literary achievement filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page. It is one of the most important books for our times.

Already being hailed as "a Grapes of Wrath for our times" and "a new American classic," Jeanine Cummins's American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope.

On the outside, Josefina Navarro's life seems fortunate enough—she lives with her father and her nursemaid, Regla, who raises her after the death of her mother in a luxurious home in Vedado, one of Cuba's wealthiest districts. She attends society dances and is courted by all of Havana's elite young bachelors. Enchanted by the rituals of her nursemaid, Josefina learns about the profound mysticism inherent in even the most mundane affairs. Though she is pampered, Josefina feels that her life is without passion or excitement. Her father, Sergeant Antonio Navarro, a Spaniard by birth, is a stern and demanding man whose past is a tightly kept secret.

When she meets and marries Lorenzo Concepción, a poor, reckless young man, the sergeant tells her, "So, you have chosen him...and you will be hungry and miserable all your life." The couple moves to El Cotorro, a poverty-stricken town that is far removed from the Vedado plazas and carefully tended gardens Josefina knew. Lorenzo begins to leave her for months at a time, "looking for work," but in reality, womanizing and carousing all over the island. Even after the birth of two healthy children, Josefina is not happy. This is not the life she had envisioned. During a political maelstrom, history brings the sergeant to El Cotorro to quell a riot, where he is attacked and presumed dead. But perception is reality on an island in which darkness and light commingle, and magic and truth are one in the same.

When Josefina begins receiving letters from her father, she believes that what she holds are heaven's missives, ghost letters. Through the letters, Josefina comes to know her father intimately, as a ghost and guardian, as he reveals the truth about his life. In the act of writing and reading, she has found a love to fill the empty places in her heart.

Set in Cuba and Miami, covering nearly fifty years of the island's history, LOVE AND GHOST LETTERS unfolds the lives of the Navarro-Concepción families in the patterns and permutations of memory, and conjures a Cuban setting that evokes mysticism and magic.

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