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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Venezuelan novelist Mascarenhas's U.S. debut is a passionate and sweeping novel set against the backdrop of her home country's violent history, focused on the pregnant Lily, soon to deliver her first child. After suffering a fall and rejecting the suggestion of an emergency C-section, Lily returns home and is put on bed rest for the remainder of her confinement. To assist in the safe arrival of the baby, her family and friends begin a novena -- a nine-day period of prayer -- to honor Maria Lionza, a mythical character believed to light a path for lost souls.
Each night during the novena, someone from Lily's circle shares a story from his or her life. These stories celebrate love in various forms -- brotherly, sisterly, parental, and romantic -- as they demonstrate one's willingness to sacrifice when love is seen as the reward. And as the days of her confinement wind down and her labor begins, Lily's obsession with the mysterious disappearance of a childhood friend is slowly resolved.
Full of the magic, mystery, and full-bodied characters readers have come to expect of the best South American fiction, The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos is as luscious and rich as the culture it reflects, and will likely find a following among fans of Junot Díaz, Julia Alvarez, and Christina García. (Fall 2009 Selection)