First book review!!
OMG–check it out! I am honored to have my work compared to that of Junot Díaz–a writer I really respect and admire. Please note one error in the review–there were 125,000 Cubans that came through the Mariel exodus.
Marielitos, Balseros and Other Exiles Cecilia Rodríguez Milanés. Ig (Consortium, dist.), $14.95 (200p) ISBN 978-0-9815040-2-5
In her debut collection, Milanés tells varied, often heartbreaking tales of Cuban-American exiles. With young Carmen, Milanés introduces readers to the community’s exodus, the 1980 Mariel boatlift, when Castro reluctantly let 10,000 Cubans leave the country. Carmen’s simple but eye-opening story features a radio broadcast cataloguing the difficulties those marielitos have since faced in the U.S. In this emotional tour through the semiconnected lives of these immigrants, and the rafters who came after (the balseros), hardworking dishwasher Juan loses the job he loves, becomes homeless and discovers unexpected opportunity; his abrupt fate turns up in a later story about José Vidal, a dangerous marielito who’s lost his mind. For her family, Damarys has clawed her way to freedom and success by whatever means necessary; in his own story, her brother Fito refuses to take part in his beloved sister’s illegitimate schemes. Complex and woeful, Milanés’s rich ensemble act may remind readers of Junot Diaz’s Drown and Denis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son. (May)