The Sunday Tertulia

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9780060195366: The Sunday Tertulia

Tertulia:a gathering of confidants who share
poetic musings, secret sorrows, and savory treats.

Cherished Latin traditions and fragmented American dreams
come together in this novel that celebrates in a symphony
of seven voices, women's wisdom, sensuality, and spirituality.

This is a story about Caire, a young, struggling New Yorker whose understanding of life changes after a group of older and wiser Latina women bring her into a close-knit circle: their Upper West Side tertulia. Every third Sunday of the month they come together for an afternoon of revelry, at which delicious food and strong opinions are served up in equal measure. At the tertulia no subject goes unexplored, from health and nutrition to romance and heartbreak; from motherhood and beauty to work, Old World traditions, and urban anxieties. Through the recollections and counsel of these intelligent, independent women--among them a retired pharmacist from Puerto Rico, a Mexican doctor, a Peruvian chef, and an Argentine professor of literature--Claire comes to know their diverse, exotic, and sometimes contradictory attitudes about the female experience.

As the conversation glides along with the spontaneity of an improvised song, Claire slowly begins to see the trials in her own personal and professional life through a prism more poetic and worldly. And, as the tertulia sizzles with anecdotes, gossip, and lore, Claire also becomes aware of the nuances that shade and distinguish Latin American history and tradition, from Mexico and the Andean plateau to the Southern Cone and Caribbean islands.

Wholesome, humorous, and bittgersweet, The Sunday Tertulia illuminates the intersection of diverse Latin American cultures in the melting pot of the United States. With an elegant flair it captures the romance and challenges of El Norte while celebrating the mystery and lyricism of women's universal hopes and dreams.

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About the Author:

Lori Marie Carlson was born in Jamestown, New York. She holds an M.A. in Hispanic Literature from Indiana University and has taught at several universities. Carlson is also the author of seven books for young adults, including the acclaimed Cool Salsa. The Sunday Tertulia is her first novel. She lives in New York City.

From Publishers Weekly:

A lonely young newcomer to New York is adopted by a remarkable circle of Latina women in Carlson's charming, wise and inspirational first novel. Visiting the Brooklyn Botanic Garden one afternoon, Claire meets retired pharmacist Isabela, a Cuban-born Puerto Rican. They strike up a friendship, and soon Claire is invited to Isabela's monthly tertulia, an informal gathering and exchange of ideas over a meal. As the youngest woman to attend the Sunday tertulia, and the only gringa, Claire finds herself the lucky recipient of seasoned advice based on life experience shared by such attendees as Aroma, a Mexican gynecologist; Sonia, an Argentine intellectual; Luna, a Peruvian chef; Pearl, a Bolivian-American painter; and Winifred, a Chilean landscape architect. The well-connected Isabela helps Claire find an apartment and a job as a paralegal in a midtown international law firm, where Claire's facility with languages is welcomed, but she is overworked and underpaid. Thanks to the monthly tertulia, however, and to its members' sophisticated girl talk on such diverse subjects as romance, infidelity, health, travel, money, poetry and even Latin superstitions, Claire eventually finds her own direction, and the strength and courage to pursue it. Actual poetry, recipes and herbal remedies are incorporated into the text, and though initially it's difficult to differentiate between the various speakers, the reader is soon able to sort them out. The novel's unusual structureAthe tertulia members' dialogue, rather than being integrated into the exposition, is printed in blocks prefaced by each speaker's nameAworks well, and despite flashes of precious prose and dated feminist rhetoric, this earthly yet spiritual work satisfies. Agent, Jennifer Lyons. 4-city author tour. (June) FYI: Carlson, who is currently a consultant on Latin American fiction for W.W. Norton, edited an anthology on international fiction and is the author of seven YA books.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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