In his first novel, Cuban emigre Suarez weaves together the contentious, disparate voices of a three-generation Cuban-American family in 1980. Esteban, the patriarch, has resettled most of the clan in California, where he lives out his days ogling young women but longs to return the ashes of his late wife to their homeland. Esteban's daughter Lilian operates an ice-cream truck concession with her husband Angel, who dreams of slightly bigger things; their son Diego leads a band at a local club and mourns the departure of his duplicitous wife Vanessa. Their narratives alternate with the story of Esteban's son Hugo, a Cuban political prisoner desperate to escape in the mass deportations from Mariel Harbor to Miami. In Suarez's overly schematic tale, the women are given unnecessarily short shrift, and his overreliance on stylistic flourishesthe novel is written in the first, second and third personsoccasionally overwhelms this sensitive, vividly detailed family album. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/1989 Release date: 03/01/1989 Genre: Fiction
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