The author’s third book of fiction ... opens with the arrival of [the] Rivera’s, who have brought their teenage daughter to the U.S. in the hope of helping her recover from a head injury. … Their neighbors [the] Toro’s came from Panama years earlier, and their teenage son takes quickly to [the Rivera’s] daughter. The pair’s relationship is prone to gossip and misinterpretation. … The novel alternates narrators among members of the two families, as well as other immigrant neighbors, and their stories stress that … individual experiences can’t be reduced to types or statistics; the shorter interludes have the realist detail, candor and potency of oral history. Life is a grind for both families. … But Henríquez emphasizes their positivity in a new country, at least until trouble arrives in the form of a prejudiced local boy. … [T]he closing pages [offer] what Henríquez is best at: capturing the way immigrant life is often an accrual of small victories in the face of a thousand cuts and how ad hoc support systems form to help new arrivals get by. A smartly observed tale … that cannily balances its optimistic tone with straight talk.
Monday, September 4 • 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Author’s Address by Cristina Henríquez
John M. Greene Hall
Tuesday, September 5 • 7-8:00 p.m.