The Marks of Birth

The Marks of Birth

by Pablo Medina
     
 

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A critically-acclaimed novel by one of our premier fiction writers.

The Marks of Birth is set in the island of Barata, an imaginary Cuba, and portrays a family caught up in political events. When the revolutionary forces of Nicolás Campión seize power, Antón García-Turner is forced to flee the island by boat. His arrival in Key West, and

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Overview

A critically-acclaimed novel by one of our premier fiction writers.

The Marks of Birth is set in the island of Barata, an imaginary Cuba, and portrays a family caught up in political events. When the revolutionary forces of Nicolás Campión seize power, Antón García-Turner is forced to flee the island by boat. His arrival in Key West, and later in New York City, marks the beginning of the marvels and horrors he will encounter in el Norte and of his realization that his personal destiny can only be "fulfilled in blood." Beautifully written—with humor, intensity, and imaginative brilliance—The Marks of Birth is a powerful portrait of a people in exile.

Author Biography: Pablo Medina emigrated from Cuba to the United States when he was twelve. He teaches at The New School University in New York City.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this promising first novel by Havana-born poet and essayist Medina ( Exiled Memories ), Anton Garcia-Turner's birthmark--``roughly the shape of Iceland in the concave sea of his back''--seems to be the seat of all his metaphysical troubles. Anton is the much-celebrated scion of a well-to-do Latin American family, which is forced to flee its island homeland when tyrant Nicolas Campion comes to power. After an adolescence in a dangerous Bronx neighborhood, Anton winds up disastrously married and frustrated in suburban New Jersey. He rallies himself to one last quixotic act after the death of his beloved grandmother, Felicia. Medina is coy about the novel's setting, but there can be no doubt that Havana is the starting spot of Anton's odyssey or that Campion is Castro. Though Medina is a skilled writer with an assured and steady voice, he bites off more here than he can assimilate. Exposing the secrets of a life in self-imposed exile is his intent, but the novel's attention jumps from character to character, all of whom remain, in the end, enigmatic. (July)
Library Journal
In poet and memoirist Medina's first novel, beautiful images are woven seamlessly into the prose, giving further evidence of his lyrical gifts. The story begins in the affluent world of an unnamed island nation. Antn Garca-Turner, a pale, sickly child, is born with skin so colorless that one can see the outlines of his organs. Grandmother Felicia is the family's strong matriarch; brother Antonio is the brilliant attorney; and the boy's father is a successful if lackluster businessman. Antn grows up in the background, surrounded by more charismatic figures than himself. Even when he escapes the post-Revolution island for the United States, his personal discoveries often depend on the worldliness of others. When Felicia dies, Antn-by now a less-than-dedicated member of a U.S.-based group trying to overthrow the island's dictator-steals a plane to scatter Felicia's ashes over the island. Medina is best in evoking the lost world of life before the Revolution and, later, the melancholy of dislocation. Recommended, especially for collections strong in Latino literature.-Harold Augenbraum, Mercantile Lib., New York

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374202965
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
07/01/1994
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.34(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.99(d)

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