In the Name of Salome by Julia Alvarez

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Synopsis

In her most ambitious work since In the Time of Butterflies, Julia Alvarez tells the story of a woman whose poetry inspired one Caribbean revolution and of her daughter whose dedication to teaching strengthened another.

Camila Henriquez Urena is about to retire from her longtime job teaching Spanish at Vassar College. Only now as she sorts through family papers does she begin to know the woman behind the legend of her mother, the revered Salome Urena, who died when Camila was three.

In stark contrast to Salome, who became the Dominican Republic's national poet at the age of seventeen, Camila has spent most of her life trying not to offend anybody. Her mother dedicated her life to educating young women to give them voice in their turbulent new nation; Camila has spent her life quietly and anonymously teaching the Spanish pluperfect to upper-class American girls with no notion of revolution, no knowledge of Salome Urena.

Now, in 1960, Camila must choose a final destination for herself. Where will she spend the rest of her days? News of the revolution in Cuba mirrors her own internal upheaval. In the process of deciding her future, Camila uncovers the truth of her mother's tragic personal life and, finally, finds a place for her own passion and commitment.

Julia Alvarez has won a large and devoted audience by brilliantly illuminating the history of modern Caribbean America through the personal stories of its people. As a Latina, as a poet and novelist, and as a university professor, Julia Alvarez brings her own experience to this exquisite story.

 

About Julia Alvarez

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Julia Alvarez left the Dominican Republic for the United States in 1960 at the age of ten. She is the author of six novels, two books of nonfiction, three collections of poetry, and eight books for children and young adults. Her work has garnered wide recognition, including a Latina Leader Award in Literature in 2007 from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the 2002 Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature, the2000 Woman of the Year by Latina magazine, and inclusion in the New York Public Library's 1996 program "The Hand of the Poet: Original Manuscripts by 100 Masters, from John Donne to Julia Alvarez." A writer-in-residence at Middlebury College, Alvarez and her husband, Bill Eichner, established Alta Gracia, an organic coffee farm-literacy arts center, in her homeland, the Dominican Republic.
 
Published June 9, 2000 by Algonquin Books. 370 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Political & Social Sciences. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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In her restless and vibrant fourth novel, Alvarez (Yo!, 1997, etc.) turns to the historical figures of Salomé Ureña, former national poet of the Dominican Republic, and her daughter, Camila, a professor in the US, chronicling each woman’s lifelong struggle to define la patria and her obligation t...

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Publishers Weekly

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Alvarez, who has written more than once about women in exile (How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents) and women revolutionaries (In the Time of the Butterflies), and who is herself a poet, academic and exile, has found in Salom and Camila Ure$a her best topic yet.

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Entertainment Weekly

In the Name of Salome, a vivacious historical novel by Julia Alvarez (How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents) counterposes the voice of real-life revolutionary Salome Urena, the Dominican Republic's ''national poet'' who helped incite war against Spanish rule in the late 1800s, with that of ...

Jun 23 2000 | Read Full Review of In the Name of Salome

Austin Chronicle

Some books demand reading all at once, books where extraordinary excursions through time and place, and odysseys of the heart capture from the first page, and day turns to night before the reader lifts her eyes from the book.

Jun 16 2000 | Read Full Review of In the Name of Salome

Project MUSE

The two protagonists of this novel, Dominican national poet Salomé Ureña and her Cuban-raised daughter, Salomé Camila Henríquez Ureña, ask about the strength of the heart: "Is love stronger than anything else in the world?"

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