Ivonne Lamazares is one of the most original and exciting new voices on the literary scene. Born and raised in Cuba, she writes of her homeland with unmatched authenticity, immediacy, and poetry. The story of a mother and daughter who flee to American shores, THE SUGAR ISLAND depicts a culture in conflict with itself, where the old world chafes against the new and where a parent's desperate grab for freedom has dire consquences for her child. Remarkably, the events and potent emotions the novel evokes take place not today or yesterday, but at the height of Castro's revolution four decades ago.
The story is told in the brave, tough voice of Tanya, a girl on the verge of womanhood, who is at odds with her mother and with the rapidly changing world around her. In the wake of the revolution, Tanya's mother -- passionate and unreliable -- is determined to leave Cuba at all costs. She is also determined to take her reluctant daughter with her. Tanya is unsure of her mother's motives, and equally unsure of her love. When at last they embark on the perilous sea voyage to freedom, they leave behind the ruins of old Havana and a ravaged landscape. What they face in America, though, is far from certain.
In this embattled mother-daughter relationship lie echoes of the conflicts wrenching apart their tiny country. With economical prose and a clear-eyed vision, Lamazares evokes lives full of hope but fraught with obstacles in the face of dramatic change. Her novel is both prescient and remarkably insightful.
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Published September 12, 2000
by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure.