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Sensual prose softens the crushing blows that life doles out to almost every character in this latest from García (Dreaming in Cuban), in which six lives cross paths in a luxury hotel somewhere in the tropics of Central America. It's a gloomy portrait of modern life, told through a series of vivid, sometimes fantastical, narrative moments. In the honeymoon suite, a Korean businessman contemplates suicide as his pregnant 15-year old mistress flits around dressed up like a harlot from a bygone era. On the rooftop, waitress and ex-guerrilla Aura Estrada sips tea with her dead brother, who warns her of the arrival of the colonel who killed him. Martín Abe, the corpulent colonel, plots against leftists, curses the wife who's left him, and lusts after the most talked about guest in the hotel: Suki Palacios, also known as the Lady Matador. A Californian of Mexican and Japanese descent, Suki is in town to fight in the first ever Battle of the Lady Matadors in the Americas. The sultry atmosphere, dash of the supernatural, and well-developed characters are a winning mix, and the story's many parts move with frictionless ease.
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*Starred Review* The Hotel Miraflor is the epicenter for explosive conflict in the capital of an unnamed Central American country ravaged by civil war and corruption. During the first week in November 2003, a presidential campaign reaches fever pitch, a military conference convenes at the hotel, and battles intimate and political, ritualized and spontaneous, erupt with seismic force. The hotel’s most prominent guest is a veritable goddess, Suki Palacios, a lithe and fearless matador from California of Mexican and Japanese descent, a woman who brandishes her beauty like a weapon. Another indomitable woman, attorney Gertrudis, uses the hotel as headquarters for her lucrative black-market adoption operation. Won Kim, a reluctant Korean factory owner, has sequestered his pregnant teenage mistress in the honeymoon suite. Aura, an ex-guerrilla working as a waitress at the hotel, plots revenge against a murderous, weight-lifting colonel. Garcia strides and twirls with a matador’s daring, grace, and focus as she enters the psyches of diverse, intense, and unnerving characters; choreographs converging and dramatic story lines; and confronts the pervasiveness of the inexplicable. Streamlined, sexy, darkly witty, and succinctly tragic, Garcia’s fifth sharply imagined novel of caustic social critique concentrates the horrors of oppression and violence into a compulsively readable tale of coiled fury and penetrating insight. --Donna SeamanSee all Editorial Reviews
Great style of writing and use of vocabulary. Boring book that dealt on life's negatives and dark areas. Not enough character development of the "Lady".Published 16 months ago by barda
I saw the 4.5 stars and thought this would be a good book...I went back and saw how many people reviewed it...so disappointed. At the very best it was SORTA okay. Read morePublished 18 months ago by moonovrmiami
Couldn't put it down. The characters draw you into their lives in an instant and won't let you go. Brilliant writing that paints pictures of people, politics and messy lives.Published on July 8, 2013 by Ryah
This is my first forray into Cristina Garcia's work (but not my first into South American/Latin American writing) and I must say that I was addicted to the book from its opening... Read morePublished on March 26, 2013 by Gerald Browning
Great book. Cristina garcia is an excellent writer. Book i rec'd was in good condition. No rips, scribbles, hardcover w/ jacket intact. Fairly prompt in timing. No complaints.Published on January 21, 2013 by Bucher
This was a pretty quick read. It got a little too neat for my tastes by the end, with no loose threads or plots left unaccounted for, but I enjoyed it quite a bit nonetheless. Read morePublished on December 18, 2012 by Clancy J Clark
This book reminds me of the classic movies were numerous characters run parallel lives and stars act in cameo roles to play all the multitude of characters in the story. Read morePublished on April 19, 2012 by C. Collins
This is just one of those novels that was fun to read. There is nothing complex about the novel. And it could hardly be expected to be a National Book Award finalist as apparently... Read morePublished on February 20, 2012 by Eric Selby
This book is short, but the author packs in so much beautiful imagery in her prose that each word becomes essential. Read morePublished on February 6, 2012 by M. Cheng