Song of the Water Saints by Nelly Rosario
A Novel

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This vibrant, provocative début novel explores the dreams and struggles of three generations of Dominican women. Graciela, born on the outskirts of Santo Domingo at the turn of the century, is a headstrong adventuress who comes of age during the U.S. occupation. Too poor to travel beyond her imagination, she is frustrated by the monotony of her life, which erodes her love affairs and her relationship with Mercedes, her daughter. Mercedes, abandoned by Graciela at thirteen, turns to religion for solace and, after managing to keep a shop alive during the Trujillo dictatorship, emigrates to New York with her husband and granddaughter, Leila. Leila inherits her great-grandmother Graciela’s passion-driven recklessness. But, caught as she is between cultures, her freedom arrives with its own set of obligations and dangers.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Nelly Rosario

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Nelly Rosario was born in 1972 in the Dominican Republic and moved to New York three months later. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from MIT and an MFA in Fiction from Columbia University. She has received numerous awards including a 1999 Barbara Deming Memorial Fund Fellowship, the Bronx Writers’ Center Van Lier Literary Fellowship for 1999-2000, two National Arts Club Writing Fellowships, the 1997 Huston/Wright Award in Fiction, and most recently she has been chosen as a “Writer on the Verge” by the Village Voice Literary Supplement for 2001. Rosario is published in the anthology Becoming American (Hyperion, 2000). She now lives in Brooklyn, NY with her daughter Olivia.
Published December 18, 2007 by Vintage. 258 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Song of the Water Saints

Kirkus Reviews

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Shoehorned in at the end is the slim tale of young Leila, born to Mercedes’ daughter Amalfi, being raised by Mercedes and Andres in New York, where they moved in the 1980s.

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Publishers Weekly

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Though the language is gorgeous and the setting vividly rendered, the story suffers from a lack of direction and, after Graciela's death, character development is all but abandoned in the rushed final third of the book.

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Star Tribune

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Review: This lyrical, multigenerational novel suffers from a few pacing problems, but its winning portraits of three spirited Dominican women whet a reader's appetite for future work from Rosario.

Mar 09 2002 | Read Full Review of Song of the Water Saints: A N...

Book Reporter

Leila and Mercedes are, on the other hand, not completely original characters, and Graciela distracts from what little impact they are capable of;

Jan 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Song of the Water Saints: A N...

Entertainment Weekly

In the Dominican Republic at the beginning of the 20th century, Graciela daydreams of a turquoise house and adventures near the edge of the sky.

Mar 22 2002 | Read Full Review of Song of the Water Saints: A N...

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