Geographies of Home

Loida Maritza Perez, Author, L. Maritza Perez, Author
Loida Maritza Perez, Author, L. Maritza Perez, Author Viking Books $23.95 (321p) ISBN 978-0-670-86889-6
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4362-6345-0
Paperback - 321 pages - 978-0-14-025371-9
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4406-2118-5
Prebound-Other - 978-0-613-28168-3
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 336 pages - 978-1-4362-6398-6
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Out of the conflicting claims of family bonds, ethnic heritage and personal fulfillment, debut author Perez creates a rhapsodic narrative. It is a story much like Dominican Republic native Perez's own, about a family who moves to Brooklyn from that island to seek better lives. Iliana, the youngest daughter, comes back home from college the week before Christmas after receiving what she believes to be several telepathic messages from her ailing mother. On her return, she is confronted by family members exhibiting madness, grief and violence. Her sister Marina, who has been raped, is borderline schizophrenic and suicidal; another sister, Rebecca, refuses to leave her abusive husband; her brothers have distanced themselves, and her rigidly conservative parents, Aurelia and Papito, are in a state of denial, having placed all their hopes in their religious faith. Iliana's educated intelligence and strong, almost supernatural intuition chafe against her respect for her parents and the religiously inflicted guilt she feels as she attempts to help her family and define a ""home"" for herself. Ironically, it is another sexual assault that allows Iliana to understand her resiliency and her family's strength, forged from traditional patterns and bitter experience. Perez skillfully blends atmospheric elements of Dominican culture into her American setting. Her prose is fluid and graceful but guardedly understated; yet the emotional undercurrent is strong and affecting. She directs her story with a steady hand, and though the rendition of cultural dislocation is bleak, the powerful message is of the redeeming power of family love that contributes to individual courage and self-fulfillment. First serial to Bomb; foreign rights sold in the UK, Germany and Holland; author tour. (Mar.)
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