Friday, October 10, 2014

Amazon's Book Reviews: Caribbean Authors — Julia Alvarez

Julia Alvarez has bridged the Americas many times. Born in New York and raised in the Dominican Republic, she is a poet, fiction writer, and essayist, author of world-renowned books in each of the genres, including “How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents”, “In the Time of the Butterflies”, and “Something to Declare”. She lives on a farmstead outside Middlebury, Vermont, with her husband Bill Eichner. Visit Julia's Web site here to find out more about her writing: Read more:

This is a review for In the Time of the Butterflies  by Julia Alvarez - By means of the sharpened scalpel of fiction, Julia Alvarez carves and shapes the central characters in this difficult and delicate novel as subversive agents who see themselves obligated by fate to participate in the ultimate demise of an oppressive regime. Minerva, Patria, María Teresa, and Dedé, each one in her distinct fashion, break through the tyrannical grip that holds sway over an entire island population for thirty-one nightmarish years. Alvarez is at her absolute best here, far surpassing the previously successful HOW THE GARCÍA GIRLS LOST THEIR ACCENTS. Even the more recent SALOMÉ, in my view, doesn't come across as powerfully (especially for those readers unfamiliar with Dominican cultural history). IN THE TIME OF THE BUTTERFLIES is a masterful work that illustrates the perniciousness of political oppression in every aspect of a society, written in a language of turbulent calmness. As a Dominican myself who experienced first hand the unspeakable horrors of the Trujillo Dictatorship, I admit honestly that Alvarez has presented brilliantly the case of repression and heroism more formidably than any other writer. She has officially immortalized las hermanas Mirabal as national heroines. Read more:

This is a review for How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez - I first read one of the short stories in this book, "Daughter of Invention," in an anthology called GROWING UP LATINO. I found the short story so humorous, touching and sensitive I wanted to read the book that it originally came from. What I admire about Julia Alvarez is her subtlety as a writer. I found myself chuckling to myself throughout the book, as well as learning more about her experience as a Dominicana told through the eyes of the four fictionalized daughters and the parents who raised them in a time of great political unrest. This was during the time of Trujillo, when their father got in trouble politically for attempting to overthrow his dictatorship. Hence, the reason for their exile to the Bronx, and the circular visits taken by the daughters returning from their schools in the U.S. back to the Dominican Republic. Read more:

This is a review for Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez - This is one of the books I have liked the most. This book has many similarities with "Anne Frank's diary" both girls living in a cruel situation. Julia Alvarez did a terrific job creating an environment with a lot of tension. It was sad for me reading about a regimen I did not have known before and the lives that were gone in a country's attempt to obtain peace and freedom. I loved how the author portrayed all the innocence in Anita's words so this book can be read for adolescents without describing the cruel and explicit violence lived in those times. I highly recommend this book not only to Dominicans or to adolescents, but for everyone from all ages. This book has touched me deeply. Read more:

This is a review forA Wedding in Haiti (Shannon Ravenel Books) by Julia Alvarez - I love Julia Alvarez. I doubt we have the same political leanings and I know we aren't the same religion or socio-economic bracket. To be honest, we might not get along if we met. But I love her books. She's got the kind of clear writing voice that aspiring authors dream of and she lives life as an adventure, which I greatly admire. She also knows which stories to tell and to my knowledge has never written a bad book. This book was also great. To people comparing her to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, this is a personal travel narrative, it isn't meant to be poignant literature. Just because both authors often write about South and Central America doesn't mean they write in the same genre or for the same audience. That being said, this is her story about several trips to Haiti with a family friend. It reads as honest, compelling and gives a depiction of day to day life in a country that has a lot of poor or inaccurate information being released about it. If you like Alvarez, you'll like this book. If you're curious about Haiti, you'll like this book. I'd highly recommend it. Read more:

Catalyst | Write the Book - Julia Alvarez video by RETN

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