Mangos, Bananas and Coconuts: A Cuban Love Story

Overview

Fiction. Latino/Latina Studies. The twin protagonists of this rivetting novel emerge from the Cuban countryside like Caribbean Tristans and Isoldes, bound to each other in an eternal embrace that neither politics, nor geography, nor the ill-will of family and society can break.

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Overview

Fiction. Latino/Latina Studies. The twin protagonists of this rivetting novel emerge from the Cuban countryside like Caribbean Tristans and Isoldes, bound to each other in an eternal embrace that neither politics, nor geography, nor the ill-will of family and society can break.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A disarming blend of magic realism and pungent social satire, this extraordinary debut novel is an incandescent tale of love, double incest, mistaken identity and immigrant dreams. In Cuba in the late 1950s, Christian faith healer Arnaldo Saavedra conducts a love affair with Patricia Ona, daughter of the owner of the local sugar mill. Patricia dies giving birth to a daughter, Esmeralda, whom Arnaldo kidnaps and takes to Spanish Harlem. But Arnaldo remains unaware that, shortly before she died, Patricia also gave birth to Esmeralda's twin brother, Juan. Adopted at birth by his wealthy grandparents, the boy eventually moves with them to Miami's Cuban exile community. Throughout her youth, Esmeralda is sexually abused by Arnaldo, who rationalizes the incest as sacred love, a vicarious communion with Patricia. On her 29th birthday, Esmeralda meets Juan-now a melancholy, Yale-educated portrait painter who, on an irresistible impulse, has traveled to New York. Unaware of their common blood, the two fall in love, their incestuous relationship triggering the jealous rage of Arnaldo, who ultimately realizes that his daughter's suitor is his missing son. Poet, playwright and journalist Novas (Everything You Need to Know about Latino History) saddles her wondrous tale with an unsatisfying and disturbing denouement that's tragic and upbeat at once. Even so, her lyrical, fiercely intelligent novel, crammed with mystical phenomena and allusions to pop culture, adroitly probes the pressures facing immigrants adjusting to Yanqui realities. (Mar.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558850927
  • Publisher: Arte Publico Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1996
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 5.88 (w) x 8.74 (h) x 0.73 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2006

    Extraordinary Novel

    This novel is in the top ten I've read. The writing is exciting, mysterious, poetic and captivating. It's a wow--the characters, the love story,the Cuban and Cuban American background, the mystery that unfolds slowly and magically, all of it is really HOT. It's a short book, too, and I read it in one sitting and when it ended, it was bitter sweet. I really love Novas' work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2004

    Maybe It Just Wasn't For Me

    This book was not bad and was quite readable, but it was not what I expected. I thought it would have more of an Isabel Allende quality where the writing is magical and beautiful. Also, most of the story takes place mainly in modern NYC. I also had a hard time handling the explicit description of her father molesting her. One good point is the attention paid to struggling Cuban immigrants.

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