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Geographies of Home Hardcover – March 1, 1999

4.2 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Out of the conflicting claims of family bonds, ethnic heritage and personal fulfillment, debut author Perez creates a rhapsodic narrative. It is a story much like Dominican Republic native Perez's own, about a family who moves to Brooklyn from that island to seek better lives. Iliana, the youngest daughter, comes back home from college the week before Christmas after receiving what she believes to be several telepathic messages from her ailing mother. On her return, she is confronted by family members exhibiting madness, grief and violence. Her sister Marina, who has been raped, is borderline schizophrenic and suicidal; another sister, Rebecca, refuses to leave her abusive husband; her brothers have distanced themselves, and her rigidly conservative parents, Aurelia and Papito, are in a state of denial, having placed all their hopes in their religious faith. Iliana's educated intelligence and strong, almost supernatural intuition chafe against her respect for her parents and the religiously inflicted guilt she feels as she attempts to help her family and define a "home" for herself. Ironically, it is another sexual assault that allows Iliana to understand her resiliency and her family's strength, forged from traditional patterns and bitter experience. Perez skillfully blends atmospheric elements of Dominican culture into her American setting. Her prose is fluid and graceful but guardedly understated; yet the emotional undercurrent is strong and affecting. She directs her story with a steady hand, and though the rendition of cultural dislocation is bleak, the powerful message is of the redeeming power of family love that contributes to individual courage and self-fulfillment. First serial to Bomb; foreign rights sold in the UK, Germany and Holland; author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

It's hard to believe that this is a first novel, so masterfully does Perez manage its complex story line and large family of characters. Iliana, one of the youngest of 14 children, is the daughter of Dominican immigrants struggling to survive in New York. She is a student at an elite college hours away from the city, but an overwhelming sense of not belonging and a series of family crises bring her back home. One older sister is having increasingly violent schizophrenic episodes, another is psychologically dependent on her savagely abusive husband, and Iliana's aging parents seem unable or unwilling to intercede in either case. Perez realistically portrays the pressures that poverty and discrimination inflict on the family. Her novel is not without flaws?the prose can be clumsy, and we don't fully understand why Iliana came to be so different from the rest of her family?but the storytelling is so powerful we don't care. This is an author to watch.?Reba Leiding, James Madison Univ., Harrisonburg, VA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; First Edition edition (March 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670868892
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670868896
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,773,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on May 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I loved this haunting yet inspiring look at a Latino family. I've read some of the more negative reviews on this site, some of which note that it is hard to believe some of the things that motivate key characters, and therefore, dismiss this wonderful work. I completely disagree. Someone on the edge of mental breakdown could very well be pushed pass the point of no return by an event as traumatic as a rape. There are many women who, for reasons most of us will never fathom, stay in physically abusive relationships, so Pasion's story is very believable.
I think Loida Maritza Perez has drawn a detailed protrait of a family that exhibits many of the characteristics of immigrant (and other) families everywhere. They suffer heartbreaks and challenges, some of them extreme. They shift and reposition their roles relative to other family members. They have moments when love prevails, and moments when they give in to the baser human emotions and human failiings. But above all, Iliana's family is indeed a loving family, and a fascinating one at that.
The struggles they face are very familiar to many of us who are immigrants, and/or who have grown up with particular religious backgrounds. The fact that to some the motivations and actions of what I see as very well-drawn characters are unfamiliar, even strange, is all the more reason why this work is so important. It gives us an opportunity to learn about differences, while at the same time allowing us to glimpse the many similarities that tie all of us together.
I highly recommend Geographies of Home, and urge you to look for both the new and the familiar, because they are both there, evoked in beautiful language that will both haunt and inspire you to seek to over your own trials and tribulations with your families.
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Format: Hardcover
At first it was a little hard to get into it, it kind of dragged. But as you get to know the characters you can't put it down. Maybe the story could have done without Pasion (he was a little extreme) but he still ended up working well with the story. Great read!!!
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Format: Paperback
GEOGRAPHIES OF HOME is riveting from start to finish. Loida Maritza Perez, in her evocative, attention-getting prologue alone, establishes a tone of richness and depth. What follows is a story well beyond conventionality. She presents a compelling tale that flows beautifully as if it were an intimate, personalized character analysis of members of a very complex family. The author has structured a work both mystical and convincingly realistic about a severely troubled Dominican family. Perez, in my opinion, is brilliant first, in creating complicated, authentic characters and then telling their stories with graceful, inventive language. The reader shares the horrors of contemporary migration with all its incumbent trauma. However, I suggest that it is the predominance of Caribbean spiritualism that gives this story its illusive, absolutely haunting character. Loida Maritza Perez is masterful at her craft. This novel will stay with you. Very Highly Recommended. Te felicito profundamente, Loida.
Alan Cambeira
Author of AZUCAR! The Story of Sugar (a novel)
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Format: Hardcover
AN EXCELLENT DEBUT. TO THE REVIEWER WHO COMMENCED HER REVIEW PRAISING ALVAREZ AND BASHING PEREZ.... JUST BECAUSE PEREZ AND ALVAREZ ARE BOTH DOMINICAN DO NOT EXPECT PROFOUND SIMILARITIES. PEREZ WRITES FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE YOUNG LATINAS, POOR DOMINICANAS, NOT MORE AFFLUENT DOMINICANAS LIKE JULIA ALVAREZ'S FAMILY. I LOVE BOTH AUTHORS BUT THEIR STYLES ARE DIFFERENT, EACH STANDS ON ITS OWN. PEREZ FOCUSES ON THE EXPIRIENCES OF A TROUBLED, POOR IMMIGRANT FAMILY. THIS IS NOT YOUR RUN OF THE MILL POOR KIDS GROWING UP IN THE GHETTO, ITS FRESHER, ITS MORE REALISTIC. IT POINGIANTLY PORTRAYS ONE FACET OF THE DOMINICAN IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE IN NEW YORK.
AS YOU CAN TELL FROM HER NOVEL NOT ALL DOMINICANS LIVE IN WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, ARE RAISED BY SINGLE MOTHERS OR INVOLVED IN DRUG TRAFICKING.
THE PROTAGONIST SHARES THE SPOTLIGHT WITH ALL OTHER IMPORTANT CHARACTERS AND OFTEN FADES INTO THE BACKGROUND ONLY TO REMERGE AND ADD FRESH PERSPECTIVE.
THE NOVEL TOUCHES ON UNIVERSAL TOPICS: WOMEN'S GENDER ROLES, LOVE, ACCEPTANCE, POVERTY. ITS WONDERFUL, ITS REAL THERE ARE NO SUGAR COATED HAPPY ENDINGS. THE NOVEL IS VERY INTERESTING BECAUSE IT USES SURREALISM TO PROJECT A REALITY....... READ THE NOVEL! A VERY REALISTIC , POWERFUL PORTRAYAL OF A HARD LIFE.
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Format: Paperback
It explores relationship of one daughter to her family. Iliana has gone away to school only to feel responsible for the problem facing her family back home in New York. She quits school to go back to her family and she realizes that some of the problems can not be so easily overcomed. Her father is one of the few male characters in the recent past to be a strong family man and not the typically portrayed latin macho that has no interest in their own family. It is a very fresh view at mental illness, family togetherness, and the need to be your own person.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This novel is so beautifully layered with the struggles of adjustment...the meaning of home and how immigrants adjust, successfully and unsuccessfully. I will require this novel next semester when I teach my Freshman Compostion course at the college level. What an insightful, rewarding read.
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