From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In her debut collection, Milanés tells varied, often heartbreaking tales of Cuban-American exiles. With young Carmen, Milanés introduces readers to the community's exodus, the 1980 Mariel boatlift, when Castro reluctantly let 10,000 Cubans leave the country. Carmen's simple but eye-opening story features a radio broadcast cataloguing the difficulties those marielitos
have since faced in the U.S. In this emotional tour through the semiconnected lives of these immigrants, and the rafters who came after (the balseros
), hardworking dishwasher Juan loses the job he loves, becomes homeless and discovers unexpected opportunity; his abrupt fate turns up in a later story about José Vidal, a dangerous marielito
who's lost his mind. For her family, Damarys has clawed her way to freedom and success by whatever means necessary; in his own story, her brother Fito refuses to take part in his beloved sister's illegitimate schemes. Complex and woeful, Milanés's rich ensemble act may remind readers of Junot Diaz's Drown
and Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son
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About the Author
Cecilia Rodriguez Milanes is a professor of Latino/a literature and writing at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Her short fiction has been anthologized in Iguana Dreams: New Latino Fiction (HarperCollins), Did My Mama Like to Dance? and Other Stories about Mothers and Daughters (Avon) and in New World: Young Latino Writers (Bantam).