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Meet Me under the Ceiba Paperback – September 30, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


Sirias brings to life a small Nicaraguan town as it reacts to the brutal murder of Adela, a beautiful young lesbian who made the mistake of challenging a wealthy landowner by luring away his mistress. The novel is based on a true story, which Sirias researched while visiting Nicaragua. He is personified as a professor spending the summer near his parents' birthplace, where he hears the story of the lesbian lovers, and attempts to reconstruct the days before and after Adela's demise. By means of his interviews, the reader comes to know Adela's family, her former lover (who feared for Adela's safety), Adela's former husband (who never dreamed that being a lesbian would get her killed), and Adela's magnetic and stunningly beautiful lover Ixelia, who was prostituted by her mother at age 11. The problems faced by homosexuals in Nicaragua are encapsulated in this one case: Adela's murder is deemed a minor offense because she was a lesbian. A provocative novel that opens up a little-known world to its readers.
Deborah Donavan --Booklist

About the Author

SILVIO SIRIAS is the author of the novel, Bernardo and the Virgin (Northwestern University Press, 2007), and he has written and edited several books on Latino/a literature, including Julia Alvarez: A Critical Companion (Greenwood Press, 2001) and Conversations with Rudolfo Anaya (University Press of Mississippi, 1998). He received his doctorate in Spanish from the University of Arizona and worked as a professor of Spanish and U.S. Latino/a literature for several years before returning to live in Nicaragua in 1999. He currently lives in Panama.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Arte Publico Pr (September 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558855920
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558855922
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #868,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Silvio Sirias is the author of Bernardo and the Virgin (2005), Meet Me under the Ceiba (2009), winner of the Chicano/Latino Literary Prize for Best Novel, and The Saint of Santa Fe. A native of Los Angeles, he spent his adolescence in Nicaragua and currently lives in Panama. In 2010, Silvio was named one of the "Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch (and Read)." He has a doctorate in Spanish from the University of Arizona. In addition to fiction, he has published academic books on Julia Alvarez, Rudolfo Anaya, and the poet Salomon de la Selva. He also has a collection of essays titled Love Made Visible: Reflections on Writing, Teaching, and Other Distractions. The Routledge Companion to Latino/a Literature lists him among the handful of authors who are introducing Central American themes into the U.S. literary landscape. For more information, visit his website at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By mannie on November 17, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i pre-ordered this book and read it within a couple of days of receiving it. I couldn't put it down. mr. sirias deftly weaves together the non-linear backstory to the headline "trio found guilty in the murder of a dyke." it's a topic that's not given much attention in nicaragua, so I was intrigued to find out more. I was not disappointed; the author vividly recreates the community and characters that played host to the tragedy. As a queer person who lived in nicaragua at the time the story unfolds, i can attest to its accurate portrayal of people and place as well as the "sub-human" perception of the victim that was used by the defense as an attempt to justify her murder. i thank you for writing this book. well done. I hope it gets translated into spanish, i will purchase a copy for my town's library.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Berman on December 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
There is a reason Silvio Sirias was recently listed as one of [...] "2010 Top Ten 'New' Latino Authors to Watch (and Read)." Meet Me Under the Ceiba (like his last book, Bernardo and the Virgin) is a wonderfully told story AND a vibrant, accurate portrayal of everyday Nicaraguan life. I know because I have been to and lived in nearly all of the small villages where Sirias sets his stories. I can recognize actual street corners and dining rooms in his stories and I've met most of the people he writes about. Even if they are fictional, Sirias's books are peopled by strikingly real Nica characters and his narrative is peppered with sharp sensory details: the sickly sweet taste of Rojita cola, the sour smell of rum-breath, the young man wearing "an old, threadbare Cat-in-the-Hat T-shirt -- probably part of the U.S. shipment sent here after Hurricane Mitch." These details are spot-on and his descriptions do not waste a word.

As for the story of Adela, the narrator of the book puts it best: "Adela Rugama's murder is a chilling story. It's a sobering portrait of human frailty, of what can happen when we allow our weaknesses, our emotional flaws, to take control of our actions. The tale of her death shows how greed, lust, and unrestrained passions can completely cloud our judgment. Just look at everything from your perspective; that is, the perspective of a priest: virtually every single commandment was broken ... Adela Rugama's murder becomes a remarkable moral tale."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By L. Fannon on March 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
Meet Me Under the Ceiba, written by Silvio Sirias, is the chronicle of the murder of a young woman named Adela by an unnamed researcher who became fascinated by her death. Through a series of interviews with her family, friends and even her murderers to try to piece together the events leading up to her death and her last moments.

This book is not necessarily a mystery: we know who her murderers are from the very beginning and we know exactly why they killed her. The narrator uncovers small mysteries that paint a clearer picture of Adela's last day on earth, but what this is really about is giving Adela a fair representation, trying to uncover the lies that have been protecting her murderers.

Adela, a lesbian, was passionately in love with the beautiful Ixelia, a gorgeous young woman who had been abused her whole life and was eventually sold by her mother into a relationship with Don Roque, a powerful and cruel older man. When Adela tries to rescue Ixelia from her fate, crosses the wrong paths and Don Roque and Ixelia's mother, Doña Erlinda, decide to get rid of her once and for all. Adela's story is tragic and heartbreaking; you spend most of the novel hoping that something will change, that Adela will be uncovered as alive. She was so obviously loved in her small community.

I learned a lot about the state of LGBT rights in Nicaragua and it is very difficult to read about. In Nicaragua and much of Latin America, being part of the LGBT community means that in the eyes of some people, you are less than a person. During the investigation and the trial, many people simply referred to Adela as "la cochona", the dyke, never using her name. Adela is reduced to nothing but her sexuality, she no longer has an identity.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sherrie Miranda on April 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
I did a double review and since I don't have time to seperate my thoughts on the two books, you get two for the price of one. Enjoy!

Although Silvio Sirias' "Meet Me under the Ceiba" and Horacio Castellanos Moya's "The She-Devil in the Mirror" are both novels about a woman being murdered and both take place in Central America, that is where their similarities end.
"Ceiba" is the story of a reporter investigating the murder of a lesbian woman, Adela, who would never hurt anyone. Everyone in the small Nicaraguan town seems convinced who committed the crime and they even put two people in jail for it. Although I was convinced these two people, the selfish mother of the victim's lover and the rich man she sold her daughter, Ixelia, to were evil, vile people, I was not convinced they physically committed the crime. The reporter talks to anyone who knows anything about Adela and her young lover, including the local priest who condemns their lifestyle and the judge who only wants justice for the victim and her family.
"She-Devil," on the other hand, is told from the point of view of the murdered victim's "so called" best friend. As the story goes on, it becomes increasingly apparent that the narrator is quite jealous of her friend's life. While Olga Maria had a great husband and two beautiful daughters plus two or three lovers on the side, Laura, the unreliable narrator, is divorced with no children and seems utterly unhappy with her lot in life. Olga Maria owns a boutique while Laura doesn't seem to have any job or even to have had one in the past. Laura seems to have tried to have affairs with the same lovers that her friend slept with, though she claims she was just trying to help out her friend when she visits these lovers.
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