I know it's been a while since I've written anything but I'm still working the night shift - which sucks. When I'm not at work I'm with the family or doing my homework, because I've decided I'm not too old to go back to school. However I always make time to write, either late at night or in the very early morning.
I do have some news to report, my book giveaway was a success both in the U.S and the UK. Thank you to anyone who downloaded it, I hope you enjoy it! If you did please leave a review on Goodreads or Amazon, they really matter.
For the last two years I've been reading mostly Latino authors in the hopes that reading them will enrich my own work, or at the very least give me some good ideas. I came across one of the most interesting titles I'd ever seen and I loved the premise of the book. I enjoyed the story so much I'd like to recommend it to all of you. The title of the novel is, The Book of Unknown Americans, by Cristina Henriquez.
There are many books on the Latino immigrant experience in America, for example Luis Urrea's The Devils Highway, or for something less dramatic Esmeralda Santiago's When I was Puerto Rican. However Unknown Americans presents that experience in a new and clever way.
I'm currently working on a new novel entitled, An Accidental Healer. It's the story of a lower-middle class Dominican guy from New York who falls in love with an upper middle class Mexican-American from L.A. It's been fun comparing and contrasting the music, food and nuances of both cultures, as well as both cities, as the story unravels. Ms. Henriquez has made a giant leap by daring to compare Latinos from Central and South America, and the Caribbean, all in one book!
It is an interesting time to be Latino in America. Never in the history of our cultures have this many Mexicans, Peruvians, Colombian, Dominicans - all our nations - lived together in one country. Ms. Henriquez does a wonderful job of painting a very realistic and fair picture of our new Spanish melting pot. It is also obvious that she has familiarity with many Latin cultures so the accents and personalities of the characters ring true. The comparisons are made even more interesting because the immigrants who live in the building are at different stages of their experience. Some of them are newly arrived and others have lived here for decades, all are under a microscope, and the author's comparisons and contrasts are dead on accurate.
The book had a fantastic effect on me, in the hustle of everyday life it's hard to forget the plights of those who just arrived to this wonderful country. I'd forgotten what it felt like to be new in America and this book was a beautiful reminder. It has also made me take a fresh look at the nameless and faceless immigrants who mow our lawns, fix our roofs and wash our cars. Those forgotten people, who in our society do not officially exist - the unknown Americans. The book has made me more sympathetic to the plight of the immigrant workers I see in my community every day.
All of the characters in the book are interesting, although you can make a good argument that not all of them were necessary. Some characters are just introduced in a few pages and have little to do with the main plot and I wondered why they are in the novel in the first place, but they were all interesting to some degree. The protagonists were very realistic and engaging, and I grew to care about them. Their relationship seemed real, and intimate moments are drawn with a splash of humor mixed with sadness. I also appreciated the pro-American sentiment expressed by the main characters in the book, who miss Mexico but come to respect and genuinely love their adopted home.
I both liked and disliked the final chapters of the book. It would have been more believable, and satisfying, if the author would have let us see what happened to Arturo, instead of just telling us. However I liked the ending, which I wish I could share with all of you but I won't because I want you to read the book.
Anyone interesting in Latino literature will appreciate this novel. The writing is good, not as beautiful as Santiago's, or as focused as Urreas, but the style is easy to read and has moments of real brilliance.
Good talking to you all. For now I return to writing into the wind.