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House Divided

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  • Posted December 3, 2010

    House Divided: A body blow to the American conscience

    First, some full disclosure is in order. I loved the first novel in this series by Raul Ramos y Sanchez: America Libre. It is an important, disturbing and provocative work that depicts a frightening America of the future, deeply fractured by Latino-Anglo civil war. So I admit I was a bit wary when I began reading the second novel, House Divided. So often with books and films, the follow-up is disappointing, paling in comparison with the original. This is not the case with this book.

    At turns, exciting, pensive and heartbreaking, House Divided is delivered as a body blow to the American conscience. The novel picks up where the preceding one left off. But this time, the positions are far more polarized, the brutality far more horrific.on both sides. The central character is once again Manolo Suarez, a leader of the resistance, who is forced to fight for the survival of his people and his family. Suarez is a richly compelling character; not a willing warrior, but a tortured, complex man often at war with his own soul. In this book as in the first, there are no easy choices and no simple solutions. Each of the characters face gut-wrenching decisions that determine their own fate, as well as the outcome of the struggle. Inevitably and tragically, they lose a part of themselves in the process.

    It's important to note that for a novel that pivots on action, this work is not a broadsword but rather, a rapier. Ramos y Sanchez is not afraid to let the storyline "breathe." He doesn't ram conflict or confrontation down the reader's throat, but punctuates the story with moments of indecision and reflection. As a reader, I was allowed to think about the consequences of the characters' life-turning choices. As a result, I did not feel "manipulated" by the story. It is therefore, a tale that is far more thought-provoking than it might have been in the hands of a lesser writer.

    It goes without saying, that you will see parallels in House Divided to our nation's current reality; and sometimes the similarities are profoundly unsettling. In one scene early on, an Anglo character mentions that Latinos "breed like rats." If you've been following today's headlines at all, you will recognize the phrase. This prescient work warns us not to let the headlines become even more similar - and more sinister - down the road. And if you doubt the author's intent, simply read the dedication that opens the book. Americans have a common enemy to fight, and Ramos y Sanchez makes an eloquent appeal to us all to stand united against this most treacherous of foes.

    Read the book. Read the headlines. And for God's sake, think about what kind of country you want to live in.

    Dom Cimei

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2011

    This book is NOT to be missed -- pick it up today!

    Although an avid reader, rarely have I come across a book so timely, with so much depth, so thought-provoking and yet so fun! In the context of immigration debate and immigration reform, as well as the view of Latinos in the public lens, Ramos y Sanchez takes a current hot political issue and then asks the traditional sci fi question of, "What if.?" taking it out to the extreme. And yet, the story plays out in a way not so different from the way we see our traditional politics unravel in today's world, and even our home lives. Raul weaves the themes of teenage angst and rebellion, government bureaucracy, and getting "swept away" with a movement that ends up far afield from where you thought it was going to go into this novel. While at once educating the reader, Ramos y Sanchez also keeps the tempo of the book fast-paced and sweeps the reader along until you're not sure WHO you're rooting for. The characters are all far from perfect and the author uses this device so that you see the vulnerabilities and human foibles we are all subject to. The message: that we are all responsible, at some level, of the community we find ourselves in, hits home. Although we may think we don't have a say in the outcome, the small choices we make affect our culture in ways we may never realize. Definitely pick up this book, and then recommend it to friends.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 17, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Provocative and timely

    Imagine a war-torn country divided by hatred among conflicting groups. Then imagine yourself living in that country - the United States of America. In light of increasing vitriol and violent outbreaks, House Divided is a cautionary tale for our time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 15, 2011

    Great read! I couldn't put it down.

    The character development in this book was so well done, you could read it and love it even if you hadn't read Raul Ramos y Sanchez's first book, America Libre. The setting and plot were very gripping, and I had a hard time putting the book down, even when it was finished. Already, I can't wait for the next one!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 15, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Page-Turner!

    Wow. Exciting. Thought-provoking. House Divided really pulls at this readers heart strings. It continues the story of Mano Suarez and examines in-depth the difficulties of a father-son relationship during the civil-war crisis. One cannot help but sympathize with the plight of persecuted Hispanics who are forced to live in "Quarantine Zones" near major cities of the United States. Food is rationed and supplies are limited from entering the zones. The people live in fear with the threat of violence and military raids. The "rebels" struggle against their oppressors by taking defensive and offensive measures. Could something like this really happen? Is it possible that ethnic tensions could cause a civil war and push Hispanics toward a liberation movement? Would our own government respond with military force and blatantly violate the civil rights of its own citizens? Raul Ramos y Sanchez brilliantly explores this realm of possibility throughout his book. I would recommend House Divided for anyone interested in politics and Latin-American issues. Book Clubs will find the questions in the Reading Group Guide to be useful for initiating discussions. The highly-anticipated second installment of the America Libre Trilogy, House Divided, will be another successful book for award winning Cuban-American author, Raul Ramos y Sanchez. I can't wait to see what happens in his next book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2011

    An imminently satisfying and thought provoking read

    Our people. A phrase full of goodness that, to history's great shame, is used time and time again to manipulate those unwilling to see. Our people: Latinos who kill other Latinos for daring to disagree. Our people: Colleagues who ally under patriotic rhetoric one day only to sabotage each other the next. Our people: Soldiers who bury themselves in hatred to numb the similarities they see between 'us' and 'them'. In the second book in the America Libre triology, Raul Ramos y Sanchez takes the reader on a somber and dizzying journey through the maze of what it is to be "our people". Raul shows the reader many angry voices in this maze - voices who believe their path to be straight and true, but who find that even with their victories they are dragged into a hopeless tangle of hypocrisy, pain and misery that offers solace to no one. "Our people!" they cry. In this book, bombs are launched, revolutions are staged, and blood is splattered, and when the dust settles the ones left standing cannot define themselves or their cause so easily. And this, and only this, is the beginning of their hope.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 11, 2011

    Breathtaking!

    Raul Ramos y Sanchez has taken this, his second novel, to new heights. As I read through the pages of House Divided I felt the fluidity of the story as if I had never put down his first novel, America Libre. I absolutely love the way Raul brings a new twist to his tale of an America divided by civil war. This novel, much like his first, is a must read for all.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2011

    Excellent Book - A must read

    I really liked the second installment of this series. It is the first book I have sat down and read straight through in a number of years (and that is saying a lot with a newborn, 3 yr old & 5 yr old running around the house). The book takes off right where the first one left off and sprints the entire time. It is completely action packed. It has everything: ethical dilemmas, politics, struggles/war, family life & love story. I highly recommend the book to anyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2010

    A MUST READ!!!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.....

    HE HAS DONE IT AGAIN, IT TAKES OFF AND ADDS WERE AMERICAN LIBRE LEFT OFF, RIVETING....CHALLENGING....PROVOCATIVE, IT HAS IT ALL..FAMILY TURMOILS, COUNTRY,LOYALTY, INTRIGUE, LOVE , RELIGION BELIEVES..WOW!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2010

    Best Book of the Year - and I've read a lot!

    I'm a huge fan of this author (Raul Ramos y Sanchez) and I was thrilled when I heard that his second book, House Divided was out. If you read and liked his first book (America Libre), you'll love House Divided. It's a book that makes you feel like you are right there in the story with the characters (Rosa is my favorite). I usually take a few weeks to read a book, but I read House Divided in a few days because I needed to know what was going to happen next. It's hard for me to write this review without giving away too much information, so I'll just say this...you won't be disappointed. I can't wait for my friends to finish the book so we can talk about it! (D-Dolan)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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