Mary Helen Lagasse The Fifth Sun

ISBN 13: 9781931896054

The Fifth Sun

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9781931896054: The Fifth Sun

Winner of the 3rd Annual Miguel Mármol Prize from Curbstone Press, Mary Helen Lagasse's The Fifth Sun is an inspiring story of an immigrant who struggles valiantly for a better life for herself and her family. The young Mexican woman, Mercedes, leaves her village to work as a housemaid in New Orleans. This fast-paced novel takes her through her adventures in New Orleans, her marriage, her struggle to raise her children, her deportation, and her attempt to re-cross the river and be reunited with her children.

 

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About the Author:

A native of New Orleans, Mary Helen Lagasse was born in the U.S. of Latino heritage and has taught English and Spanish at private schools. Her stories and articles have appeared in numerous publications, including the New Orleans Times Picayune, Gambit, and New Orleans Magazine.

From Booklist:

Lagasse's engaging debut novel traces the footsteps of a young Mexican girl from her small village to New Orleans and back again during the early twentieth century. Mercedes is 13 when her mother dies. She is taken in by her father and his wife, but they treat her like a servant, making her wear her half-sisters' hand-me-downs and sleep off the kitchen. When she becomes pregnant at 15 and her father disowns her, a friend of her deceased mother arranges for her to become a housemaid in New Orleans, a very foreign new world. Mercedes eventually marries and has three more children, and her efforts to make their lives better than her own are what keep her going. Lagasse introduces secondary characters in their own chapters, actively engaging the reader in a widening circle of protagonists who both help and hinder Mercedes' struggle. Packed with period details and Mexican folklore, this is a welcome addition to the increasingly popular genre of immigration fiction, which can serve as a powerful antidote to immigration paranoia. Deborah Donovan
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