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American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood

Marie Arana

576 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0385319622 / ISBN 13: 9780385319621
Published by The Dial Press, 2001
Used Condition: Good
From Better World Books (Mishawaka, IN, U.S.A.)

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Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP2362056

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Bibliographic Details

Title: American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood

Publisher: The Dial Press

Publication Date: 2001

Book Condition:Good

About this title

Synopsis:

From her father's genteel Peruvian family, Marie Arana was taught to be a proper lady, yet from her mother's American family she learned to shoot a gun, break a horse, and snap a chicken's neck for dinner.

Arana shuttled easily between these deeply separate cultures for years. But only when she immigrated with her family to the United States did she come to understand that she was a hybrid American, an individual whose cultural identity was split in half. Coming to terms with this split is at the heart of this graceful, beautifully realized portrait of a child who "was a north-south collision, a New World fusion. An American chica."

Through Arana's eyes the reader will discover not only the diverse, earthquake-prone terrain of Peru, charged with ghosts of history and mythology, but also the vast prairie lands of Wyoming, "grave-slab flat," and hemmed by mountains.

In these landscapes resides a fierce and colorful cast of family members who bring her historia vividly to life, among them Arana's proud paternal grandfather, Victor Manuel Arana Sobrevilla, who one day simply stopped coming down the stairs; her dazzling maternal grandmother, Rosa Cisneros y Cisneros, "clicking through the house as if she were making her way onstage"; Grandpa Doc, her maternal grandfather, who, by example, taught her about the constancy of love.

But most important are Arana's parents, Jorge and Marie. He a brilliant engineer, she a talented musician. For more than half a century these two passionate, strong-willed people struggled to overcome the bicultural tensions in their marriage and, finally, to prevail.

From the Back Cover:

"Lush, mystical ... a memoir that blends family historia and the puzzling deadly politics of Peru."
-- USA Today

"American Chica is a fascinating blend of autobiography and soap opera, memoir and meditation. ... full of larger-than-life characters and stranger-than-fiction situations. ... delightful."
-- Washington Post

"Arana's intimate and intelligent memoir captures exactly the pulse of a changing America. ...[C]learly demonstrates her ability to write crystalline prose and make erudite cultural observations."
-- Library Journal

"Part history, part family memoir ... American Chica reads like a collaboration between John Cheever and Isabel Allende.... One of the many reasons the reader can't put this memoir down is the author's impressive command of her craft.... Arana has left her own imprint on her material, while at the same time displaying virtuosity in the storyteller's traditional gifts: spareness, clarity, and a passion for allegory."
-- The New York Times Book Review
A South American man, a North American woman -- hoping against hope, throwing a frail span over the divide, trying to bolt beams into sand. There was one large lesson my parents had yet to learn as they strode into the garden with friends, hungry for rum and fried blood: There is a fundamental rift between North and South America, a flaw so deep it is tectonic. The plates don't fit. The earth is loose. A fault runs through. Earthquakes happen. Walls are likely to fall.
-- from American Chica

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