Geographies of Home

Geographies of Home

3.3 3
by Loida Maritza Perez
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

From time to time, a writer bursts on to the scene with a compelling novel of such extraordinary power, maturity, and insight that it leaves an indelible mark. Such is the case with Loida Maritza Pérez, whose luminous storytelling will captivate you even as it breaks your heart. Iliana believed that by attending a college more than five hours from New York… See more details below

Overview

From time to time, a writer bursts on to the scene with a compelling novel of such extraordinary power, maturity, and insight that it leaves an indelible mark. Such is the case with Loida Maritza Pérez, whose luminous storytelling will captivate you even as it breaks your heart. Iliana believed that by attending a college more than five hours from New York City, she could gain independence and escape the watchful eyes of her overprotective, religiously conservative parents. She soon realizes, however, that familial bonds are impossible to break, and that barriers created by time and distance can be easily collapsed. A disembodied voice which Iliana believes is her mother's haunts her nights with disturbing news about her sisters: Marina is careening toward a mental breakdown; Beatriz has disappeared; Rebecca continues in an abusive and dysfunctional marriage. Convinced that she might be of help, Iliana reluctantly returns to New York City. In this dislocating urban environment, she confronts all the contradictions, superstitions, joys, and pains of someone caught between two cultures but who is intent on finding a home. Narrated in electrifying prose and inhabited by characters who are as boldly imaginative as they are completely believable, Geographies of Home is a stunningly original debut from a major new literary talent.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Susan Jackson
Geographies is not a women's or black or Hispanic or immigrant novel, even though it has elements of all of those. It's a riveting, haunting tale of survival that will force you to rethink your perceptions of Hispanic life, big families, mental illness and home.
Time Out New York
Library Journal
It's hard to believe that this is a first novel, so masterfully does Perez manage its complex story line and large family of characters. Iliana, one of the youngest of 14 children, is the daughter of Dominican immigrants struggling to survive in New York. She is a student at an elite college hours away from the city, but an overwhelming sense of not belonging and a series of family crises bring her back home. One older sister is having increasingly violent schizophrenic episodes, another is psychologically dependent on her savagely abusive husband, and Iliana's aging parents seem unable or unwilling to intercede in either case. Perez realistically portrays the pressures that poverty and discrimination inflict on the family. Her novel is not without flaws--the prose can be clumsy, and we don't fully understand why Iliana came to be so different from the rest of her family--but the storytelling is so powerful we don't care. This is an author to watch.--Reba Leiding, James Madison Univ., Harrisonburg, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Heavy doses of melodrama and a penchant for overexplaining its characters' experiences blunt the impact of this ambitious first novel about a Dominican American family struggling to survive-and rapidly falling apart-in contemporary New York City. The focal character is Iliana, youngest of 14 children, returning reluctantly home from college to help shoulder her family's Olympian burdens. One older brother (Gabriel) is sleeping with the wife of another (Caleb). Eldest sister Rebecca, married late and to a much older husband (pointedly named Pasion), lives in filth (a house filled with chickens, manifestations of Pasion's stubborn "embrace of a farmer's lifestyle") and constant fear of spousal abuse. Mad daughter Marina, a schizophrenic rape victim who "sees" both spiders and her imaginary demonic violator everywhere, frequently attempts suicide, nearly sets her family's house afire, and looms as an unpredictable threat to her longsuffering parents: Papito, who works two jobs, though he's well into his 60s, laboring to do his best for them all, and Aurelia (a pragmatic matriarch, and the most fully realized figure here). Pérez moves skillfully among the viewpoints of the four major women characters, also branching out to explore the consciousness of Papito (a dramatic account of his Dominican early life, and the loss of his first love) and that of the family's embittered youngest son Tico. But the novel works too hard to knock us out: expository material is layered into the characters' ruminations in a virtually documentary manner; and Pérez's generally strong dialogue (best in the several quarrel scenes) lapses into discursiveness exactly when it shouldn't-in momentsof high emotion (e.g., Aurelia's complaint to Rebecca: "[For years] I tried to dissuade you of [sic] the notion that your life would bloom into a thing of wonder just because someone offered you his hand"). This exasperatingly awkward debut does, nevertheless, show a vigorous imagination at work, and raises hopes that Pérez can do a lot better. .

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780613281683
Publisher:
San Val
Publication date:
03/28/2000
Product dimensions:
5.26(w) x 7.86(h) x 0.89(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Loida Maritza Perez was born in the Dominican Republic in 1963. She lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >