Dominicana: A Novel

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A GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK

“Through a novel with so much depth, beauty, and grace, we, like Ana, are forever changed.” —Jacqueline Woodson, Vanity Fair

“Gorgeous writing, gorgeous story.” —Sandra Cisneros

Named a Most Anticipated Book by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Washington Post, O Magazine, Time, Seattle Times, The Baltimore Sun, Real Simple, Nylon, Instyle, BuzzFeed, Lit Hub, The Millions, Bustle, and more

Fifteen-year-old Ana Cancion never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up with in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she has to say yes. It doesn’t matter that he is twice her age, that there is no love between them. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So on New Year’s Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. But at the bus terminal, she is stopped by Cesar, Juan’s free-spirited younger brother, who convinces her to stay.

As the Dominican Republic slides into political turmoil, Juan returns to protect his family’s assets, leaving Cesar to take care of Ana. Suddenly, Ana is free to take English lessons at a local church, lie on the beach at Coney Island, see a movie at Radio City Music Hall, go dancing with Cesar, and imagine the possibility of a different kind of life in America. When Juan returns, Ana must decide once again between her heart and her duty to her family.

In bright, musical prose that reflects the energy of New York City, Angie Cruz's Dominicana is a vital portrait of the immigrant experience and the timeless coming-of-age story of a young woman finding her voice in the world.

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About the author

Angie Cruz is the author of the novels Soledad and Let It Rain Coffee, a finalist in 2007 for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. She has published work in The New York Times, VQR, Gulf Coast Literary Journal, and other publications, and has received fellowships from the New York Foundation of the Arts, Yaddo, and the MacDowell Colony. She is founder and editor in chief of Aster(ix), a literary and arts journal, and is an associate professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh.
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4.4
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Additional Information

Publisher
Flatiron Books
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Published on
Sep 3, 2019
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9781250205926
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Coming of Age
Fiction / Hispanic & Latino
Fiction / Literary
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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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With her first novel, Angie Cruz established herself as a dazzling new voice in Latin-American fiction. Junot Diaz called her "a revelation" and The Boston Globe compared her writing to that of Gabriel García Márquez. Now, with humor, passion, and intensity, she reveals the proud members of the Colón family and the dreams, love, and heartbreak that bind them to their past and the future.
Esperanza did not risk her life fleeing the Dominican Republic to live in a tenement in Washington Heights. No, she left for the glittering dream she saw on television: JR, Bobby Ewing, and the crystal chandeliers of Dallas. But years later, she is still stuck in a cramped apartment with her husband, Santo, and their two children, Bobby and Dallas. She works as a home aide and, at night, stuffs unopened bills from the credit card company in her lingerie drawer where Santo won't find them when he returns from driving his livery cab. Despite their best efforts, they cannot seem to change their present circumstances.
But when Santo's mother dies, back in Los Llanos, and his father, Don Chan, comes to Nueva York to live out his twilight years in the Colóns' small apartment, nothing will ever be the same. Santo had so much promise before he fell for that maldita woman, thinks Don Chan, especially when he is left alone with his memories of the revolution they once fought together against Trujillo's cruel regime, the promise of who Santo might have been, had he not fallen under Esperanza's spell. From the moment Don Chan arrives, the tension in the Colón household is palpable.
Flashing between past and present, Let It Rain Coffee is a sweeping novel about love, loss, family, and the elusive nature of memory and desire, set amid the crosscurrents of the history and culture that shape our past and govern our future.
Tía Gorda has always claimed Soledad was born con la pata caliente -- with feet burning to be anywhere but here. In truth, Soledad couldn't wait to get beyond the stifling confines of West 164th Street, away from her superstitious, contentious family with their endless tragedies and petty fights; from the leering men with their potbellies, the slick-skinned teen girls with their raunchy mouths and snapping gum. At eighteen, Soledad couldn't get away from the volume and the violence of the barrio some call Dominican Heights fast enough. Two years later, an art student at Cooper Union with a gallery job and a hip East Village walk-up, Soledad feels eminently cool and infinitely far from the neighborhood where she grew up.
But when Gorda calls with the news that Olivia, Soledad's mother, has lapsed into an emotional coma, Soledad knows she hasn't escaped la familia. Gorda insists Soledad's return is the only thing that will cure Olivia. Fighting the memories of the life she's left -- the broken hydrants on littered corners, her jealous cousin Flaca, her bizarre mother and, curiously, images of her mother's Dominican youth -- Soledad returns home to Washington Heights. Her journey has only begun. As Soledad tries to salvage her damaged relationship with Olivia, tame Flaca's raucous behavior, tolerate her zany Tía Gorda and resist falling for Richie, a soulful, intense man from the neighborhood, she also faces the greatest challenge of her life: confronting the ghosts from her mother's past.
Rich, evocative and wise, Soledad is a wondrous story of culture and chaos, of family and integrity, myth and mysticism. Angie Cruz is a dazzling new voice, a Latina literary light whose passionate debut in Soledad surely marks the beginning of a remarkable career.
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