“A masterful work of historical fiction. . . . [A] Latino Grapes of Wrath.”—Ron Charles, Washington Post
Marisel Vera emerges as a major new voice in contemporary fiction with this “capacious” (The New Yorker) novel set in Puerto Rico on the eve of the Spanish-American War. Up in the mountainous region of Utuado, Vicente Vega and Valentina Sanchez labor to keep their coffee farm from the creditors. When the great San Ciriaco hurricane of 1899 brings devastating upheaval, the young couple is lured along with thousands of other puertorriquenos to the sugar plantations of Hawaii, where they are confronted by the hollowness of America’s promises of prosperity. Depicting the roots of Puerto Rican alienation and exodus, which resonates especially today, The Taste of Sugar is “a gorgeous feat of storytelling” (Tayari Jones).
A Chicago-born writer based in Pittsburgh, PA, Marisel Vera is the author of The Taste of Sugar and If I Bring You Roses. Through her work, Vera explores the particular burdens that Puerto Ricans carry as colonial subjects of the most powerful country in the world.