National Book Award finalist Cristina García delivers a powerful and gorgeous novel about the intertwining lives of the denizens of a luxurious hotel in an unnamed Central American capital in the midst of political turmoil. The lives of six men and women converge over the course of one week. There is a Japanese-Mexican-American matadora in town for a bull-fighting competition; an ex-guerrilla now working as a waitress in the hotel coffee shop; a Korean manufacturer with an underage mistress ensconced in the honeymoon suite; an international adoption lawyer of German descent; a colonel who committed atrocities during his country’s long civil war; and a Cuban poet who has come with his American wife to adopt a local infant. With each day, their lives become further entangled, resulting in the unexpected—the clash of histories and the pull of revenge and desire. Cristina García’s magnificent orchestration of politics, the intimacies of daily life, and the frailty of human nature unfolds in a moving, ambitious, often comic, and unforgettable tale.
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Cristina García is the author of six novels, including the National Book Award finalist Dreaming in Cuban; children’s books; anthologies; and poetry. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Whiting Writers’ Award, among other honors, and is currently University Chair in Creative Writing at Texas State University-San Marcos. Visit her website at CristinaGarciaNovelist.com.From Booklist:
*Starred Review* The Hotel Miraflor is the epicenter for explosive conflict in the capital of an unnamed Central American country ravaged by civil war and corruption. During the first week in November 2003, a presidential campaign reaches fever pitch, a military conference convenes at the hotel, and battles intimate and political, ritualized and spontaneous, erupt with seismic force. The hotel’s most prominent guest is a veritable goddess, Suki Palacios, a lithe and fearless matador from California of Mexican and Japanese descent, a woman who brandishes her beauty like a weapon. Another indomitable woman, attorney Gertrudis, uses the hotel as headquarters for her lucrative black-market adoption operation. Won Kim, a reluctant Korean factory owner, has sequestered his pregnant teenage mistress in the honeymoon suite. Aura, an ex-guerrilla working as a waitress at the hotel, plots revenge against a murderous, weight-lifting colonel. Garcia strides and twirls with a matador’s daring, grace, and focus as she enters the psyches of diverse, intense, and unnerving characters; choreographs converging and dramatic story lines; and confronts the pervasiveness of the inexplicable. Streamlined, sexy, darkly witty, and succinctly tragic, Garcia’s fifth sharply imagined novel of caustic social critique concentrates the horrors of oppression and violence into a compulsively readable tale of coiled fury and penetrating insight. --Donna Seaman
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