When Tito Loved Clara by Jon Michaud

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Clara Lugo grew up in a home that would have rattled the most grounded of children. Through brains and determination, she has long since slipped the bonds of her confining Dominican neighborhood in the northern reaches of Manhattan. Now she tries to live a settled professional life with her American husband and son in the suburbs of New Jersey—often thwarted by her constellation of relatives who don’t understand her gringa ways.

Her mostly happy life is disrupted, however, when Tito, a former boyfriend from fifteen years earlier, reappears. Something has impeded his passage into adulthood. His mother calls him an Unfinished Man. He still carries a torch for Clara; and she harbors a secret from their past. Their reacquaintance sets in motion an unraveling of both of their lives and reveals what the cost of assimilation—or the absence of it—has meant for each of them.

This immensely entertaining novel—filled with wit and compassion—marks the debut of a fine writer.

About Jon Michaud

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Jon Michaud is the head librarian at The New Yorker magazine and a regular contributor to newyorker.com. His short stories have been published in North American Review, Denver Quarterly, Fawlt, and other journals. He lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with his wife (also a librarian) and their two sons.
Published March 8, 2011 by Algonquin Books. 352 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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A youthful dalliance between the children of feuding Dominican immigrants has unexpected late-life repercussions when their paths cross again.

Dec 30 2010 | Read Full Review of When Tito Loved Clara

Star Tribune

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Gorgeous writing and unusual protagonists don't quite make up for an overwrought plot and characters who don't quite come alive.

Mar 19 2011 | Read Full Review of When Tito Loved Clara


First loves are not easily forgotten—nor do they typically fail to make a lasting impact on the course of one’s life.

| Read Full Review of When Tito Loved Clara

The New Yorker

Online version of the weekly magazine, with current articles, cartoons, blogs, audio, video, slide shows, an archive of articles and abstracts back to 1925

Apr 18 2011 | Read Full Review of When Tito Loved Clara


In 1963, Robert Shaplen wrote a Reporter at Large about the organization for which he spent time with Peace Corps volunteers working in the Philippines.

Dec 10 2010 | Read Full Review of When Tito Loved Clara

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