A dazzling, heartbreaking page-turner destined for breakout status: a novel that gives voice to millions of Americans as it tells the story of the love between a Panamanian boy and a Mexican girl: teenagers living in an apartment block of immigrant families like their own.
After their daughter Maribel suffers a near-fatal accident, the Riveras leave Mexico and come to America. But upon settling at Redwood Apartments, a two-storey cinderblock complex just off a highway in Delaware, they discover that Maribel's recovery--the piece of the American Dream on which they've pinned all their hopes--will not be easy. Every task seems to confront them with language, racial and cultural obstacles. At Redwood also lives Mayor Toro, a high school sophomore whose family arrived from Panama fifteen years ago. Mayor sees in Maribel something others do not: that beyond her lovely face, and beneath the damage she's sustained, is a gentle, funny and wise spirit. But as the two grow closer, violence casts a shadow over all their futures in America. Peopled with deeply sympathetic characters, the novel unfolds during a single transformative year, telling a riveting and poignant story of unflinching honesty and humanity and an unforgettable, wholly unsentimental tale of young love; and offering a new, resonant definition of what it means to be an American. An instant classic is born.
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An Amazon Best Book of the Month, June 2014: Cristina Henríquez’s powerful novel The Book of Unknown Americans captures readers with the quiet beauty of her characters and their profoundly wrought experiences as immigrants in America. The story takes place in a run-down apartment building in Delaware, home to nine families who arrived in the States from various South and Central American countries, each looking to better the lives of the next generation. In alternating chapters, these men and women share stories of how their adopted country has left its mark on them, for better and worse. The close bond that develops between the Rivera and Toro families drives the novel forward, particularly the relationship between their children Mayor and Maribel, as closely held secrets and feelings of guilt, love, hope, and despair are unpacked with warmth and compassion. With her cast of “unknown Americans,” Henriquez has crafted a novel that is inspiring, tragic, brave, and above all, unforgettable. --Seira WilsonAbout the Author:
CRISTINA HENRIQUEZ is the author of the story collection Come Together, Fall Apart, which was a New York Times Editor's Choice selection, and the novel The World in Half. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Glimmer Train, Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, AGNI and The Oxford American, as well as in various anthologies.
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Book Description Bond Street Books, 2014. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0385680732