Message from God in the Atomic Age: A Memoir

Overview

A Message from God in the Atomic Age is a razor-sharp memoir about the allure of suicide for three generations of women in one Puerto Rican family. March 1, 1954: Lolita Lebron, a young Puerto Rican nationalist, opens fire on the United States House of Representatives, proclaiming, "I did not come here to kill, I came here to die." She is sentenced to life in prison. March 1, 1977: After attending her son's wedding in Puerto Rico on February 27th, Gladys Mendez (Lebron's daughter) leaps from a speeding car driven...
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UK 1997 Paperback First Thus Very Good + 8vo-over 7?"-9?" Tall Unread. VG + condition. *****PLEASE NOTE: This item is shipping from an authorized seller in Europe. In the event ... that a return is necessary, you will be able to return your item within the US. To learn more about our European sellers and policies see the BookQuest FAQ section***** Read more Show Less

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Condition: Very Good
UK 1997 Paperback First Thus Very Good + 8vo-over 7?"-9?" Tall Unread. VG + condition. *****PLEASE NOTE: This item is shipping from an authorized seller in Europe. In the event ... that a return is necessary, you will be able to return your item within the US. To learn more about our European sellers and policies see the BookQuest FAQ section***** Read more Show Less

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Overview

A Message from God in the Atomic Age is a razor-sharp memoir about the allure of suicide for three generations of women in one Puerto Rican family. March 1, 1954: Lolita Lebron, a young Puerto Rican nationalist, opens fire on the United States House of Representatives, proclaiming, "I did not come here to kill, I came here to die." She is sentenced to life in prison. March 1, 1977: After attending her son's wedding in Puerto Rico on February 27th, Gladys Mendez (Lebron's daughter) leaps from a speeding car driven by her husband, despite her eight-year-old daughter's desperate attempts to restrain her. She dies two days later, without ever regaining consciousness. February 1, 1988: Recently arrived from Puerto Rico to attend Syracuse University, Irene Vilar (granddaughter of Lebron and daughter of Mendez) is committed to Hutchings Psychiatric Hospital following a suicide attempt. Alternating between Vilar's notes from the psychiatric ward and her recounting of her family history, A Message from God in the Atomic Age is an urgent, richly evocative meditation on family. Vilar unravels the fantastical myths and delves into the frightening secrets that have haunted a grandmother, mother, and daughter.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Vilar attempted suicide with gas and razors at age 18 in 1988, while she was a student at Syracuse University in New York, where she had just arrived from her native Puerto Rico. This desperate act, she suggests in a lyrical, intense memoir, flowed from a familial pattern of self-destructiveness and tragedy. In 1954, her grandmother, militant Puerto Rican nationalist and self-styled revolutionary martyr Lolita Lebron, shot and wounded several congressmen in the U.S. House of Representatives, for which she spent 27 years in prison. In 1977, Lebron's erratic daughter, Gladys Mendez (the author's mother), while suffering from uterine cancer, leaped to her death from a car being driven by her womanizing husband, as eight-year-old Vilar tried to restrain her. The author moves freely among various topics and settings: her stay in a mental hospital after her own suicide attempt; her education in a New Hampshire experimental private school and a convent school in Spain; her sexual awakening; a miscarriage; letting go of residual guilt over the death of her mother. Though rambling and tinged with emotional confusion, her compelling story introduces a fresh, pointed voice, filled with telling insights into Latino identity, Puerto Rican history and the search for self. (July)
Library Journal
Vilar came from Puerto Rico to Syracuse, New York, at the age of 15 to attend the university there. She gradually became obsessed with her mother's suicide and her grandmother's political activities promoting Puerto Rican independence. (In 1954, her grandmother, Lolita Lebrun, fired into the U.S. House of Representatives, injuring several members.) In 1988, Vilar attempted suicide and was hospitalized and treated. Here she chronicles her adolescence, experiences with psychiatric treatment, and life as a Puerto Rican, managing to bring the reader into her complex world through dense writing and references as disparate as Kierkegaard and anthropologist Oscar Lewis. She explores the dual nature of Puerto Rican American identity as reflected in her life and that of her family. A fascinating story for public library collections.Gwen Gregory, New Mexico State Univ. Lib., Las Cruces
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780517267820
  • Publisher: Random House Value Publishing, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/23/1996
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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