Reclaiming Paris

Fabiola Santiago, Author . Atria $24.95 (286p) ISBN 978-1-4165-5112-6

Santiago, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her coverage of Elian González in the Miami Herald , makes her fiction debut with this flat immigrants' saga. Marisol, a 30-something historian for the Miami Museum of History, recounts in jumbled retrospect the tale of her sometimes idealized, sometimes difficult childhood in Cuba. After her father's early death and her mother's subsequent unbalance, Marisol is raised by her loving abuela (“grandma”), and the two emigrate to the Cuban Miami of the Vietnam era. Santiago focuses on Marisol's love life, from her first crush as a little girl to a succession of Miami émigrés, including a political refugee who despises the bourgeois life to which Marisol aspires, and a cardiologist who shares Marisol's nostalgic yearnings for the Cuba of old, but will not leave his wife for her. Different perfumes delineate various phases of Marisol's life (with Wind Song, White Linen and others serving as section headings). Santiago brings together the expected elements of an immigrant's tale of self-discovery and redemption, but there's little drive behind Marisol's diaristic narration. Along with the perfume conceit, the Parisian connection, made explicit by the end, feels contrived. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 06/16/2008
Release date: 09/01/2008
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 286 pages - 978-1-4165-5113-3
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4165-7964-9
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