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García's solid triptych opens in 1968, where Enrique Florit is a nine-year-old struggling to retain memories of his mother, who died in a bizarre accident in Cuba during one of his father Fernando's magic acts. Father and son relocate to Las Vegas, where Enrique develops a fascination with gambling. The novel then shifts to Marta Claros, a young girl attempting to eke out a living for her family in San Salvador, El Salvador, by selling used clothing. Marta's younger brother, Evaristo, escapes from their violent stepfather and takes up residence in a coral tree, only to witness brutal acts committed by soldiers at night. Marta, meanwhile, devises a plan to immigrate to the U.S., hoping to send for Evaristo later. In yet another part of the world, Leila Rezvani grows up amid luxurious yet isolated surroundings in Tehran, where her mother flirts with the horticulturist, her father is absorbed by his work, and her brother is dying. Enrique emerges as the central figure as years pass, first entangling with Leila, whom he meets in a casino, and later with Marta, with whom he has a platonic relationship. García (Dreaming in Cuban) lovingly portrays her characters grappling with misfortune and luck in unfamiliar surroundings. (Apr.)Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.