Latin Twist

Teresa de la Caridad Doval
Sixteen-year-old Lourdes is a dedicated and proud revolutionary who spends the summer of 1982, along with her peers, at the "School-in-the-Fields," tilling tobacco fields to prove her dedication to Fidel and the revolution.
Oscar Hijuelos
"It is 1947 and Israel Levis, a Cuban composer whose life had once been a dream of music, love and sadness, is returning to Habana, Cuba, from Spain, where he has just recovered from the physical and spiritual malaise resulting from his experiences in Paris, then Buchenwald, during the Nazi occupation of France. (A devout Catholic, Levis had been mistakenly identified as a Jew because of his name.)

"When Levis arrives back in Habana, after an absence of many years, his mind is reeling with beautiful memories of his life in Cuba and in Paris before the war, a life of pleasure and excitement that he owes, in part, to an unrequited, nearly 'chivalrous' romance with a certain Rita Valladares, a singer for whom Levis had written his most famous song, 'Rosas Puras,' or 'Pretty Roses.' This 1928 composition becomes the most famous rumba in the world and changes both American and European tastes in music and dance -- forever; and it is the song, symbolic of the composer's love for Rita Valladares, that sets Levis's life in Europe in motion. This is at once a love story -- for art, family and country -- as well as a portrait of Habana at the turn of the last century, when 'the world was good.'"

Daniel Chacon

Moving from the Fresno barrio to Oregon in an effort to climb up the socio-economic ladder, a Latino family learns that its ethnicity presents unexpected obstacles.

Oscar Casares
At the country's edge, on the Mexican border, Brownsville, Texas, is a town much like many others. It is a place where men and women work hard to create better lives for their children, where people sometimes bear grudges against their neighbors, where love blossoms only to fade, and where the only real certainty is that life holds surprises.
Arturo Pérez-Reverte
A fictional 17th-century Spanish swordsman's instruction to frighten two travelers becomes a murder-for-hire arranged by Emilio Bocanegra, the name synonymous with the Spanish Inquisition. What happens next is only the first in a series of riveting twists and turns, with implications that will reverberate throughout the courts of Europe.
Nina Marie Martinez

Welcome to Lava Landing, population 27,454, a town just this side of Mexico, where Miss Magma reigns and rockabilly and mariachi music are king. Enter our protagonists, Natalie and Consuelo, self-described “like-minded individuals.” They spend their days at The Big Cheese Plant and their nights at The Big Five-Four, the hottest spot in town. But they have long-term projects, foremost among them to cure Consuelo of her unreasonable fear of public transportation and long car rides so they can finally take Natalie’s 1963 Cadillac convertible on the road trip it deserves . . .

Ernesto Quiñonez
Julio Santana is an arsonist. For a fee, Julio burns down buildings looked upon as unseemly by investors trying to transform the very face of the Spanish Harlem neighborhood he calls home. Julio has pocketed thousands of dollars from people who want to profit from the forced gentrification of his neighborhood, money he has used to make his parents proud by purchasing them a place of their own. By controlling the flow of those streaming into the neighborhood, the true power players behind this insurance scam have made a fortune.

So when Julio falls in love with Helen, a white woman who just moved into the neighborhood, he makes it his priority to stop setting his own neighborhood ablaze and enter into a life of clean, honest living. Little does he realize that his change for the good has angered his employers and promises to threaten Julio's life, along with the lives of everyone he loves.

Loida Maritza Perez

"Iliana believed that by attending a college more than five hours from New York City, she could gain independence and escape the watchful eyes of her overprotective, religiously conservative parents. A disembodied voice that Iliana believes is her mother's haunts her nights with disturbing news about her sisters: Marina is careening toward a mental breakdown; Beatriz has disappeared; Rebecca continues in an abusive and dysfunctional marriage. Iliana reluctantly returns to New York City. In this dislocating urban environment, she confronts all the contradictions, superstitions, joys, and pains of someone caught between two cultures but who is intent on finding a home."

Lia Matera

"Attorney Willa Jansson's mother has never balked at breaking the law, especially not for a good cause. So when Willa learns her mother has flouted federal regulations and gone off to Cuba, she figures it's just a harmless pilgrimage to lefty Graceland. But when her mother doesn't return with the rest of her peacenik tour group, Willa fears the feds might consider the trip 'trading with the enemy' -- with a penalty of ten years in prison and a $100,000 fine. Worse, her mother's bleeding heart may finally have gotten her into more trouble than she can get herself out of.

"In Lia Matera's Havana Twist, Willa risks her career and passport by rushing to Cuba to retrace her mother's steps. But she finds that nothing there is quite as it seems. Following clues to neighborhoods tourists never see, through secret tunnels beneath the street, and into the finest luxury hotels, Willa is manipulated, misled, and nearly arrested. And in the meantime, newfound reporter friends -- or are they CIA agents? -- disappear as suddenly and inexplicably as her mother did."

Marcos McPeek Villatoro
Rookie homicide detective Romilia Chacon is haunted by the unsolved murder of her sister. On the broken streets of Nashville, she longs for vengeance but finds herself an outsider--within a Latino community that views her with suspicion, and within a police force that makes no place for a brainy, beautiful woman. Partnered with the department hero, a detective famed for catching a vicious, ritualistic serial killer, she learns that her bilingual skills are valued more than her investigative insights. But when a reporter turns up dead, Romilia alone is convinced that it was murder, not suicide--and, worse, that it may be the work of the very killer her partner thinks he's already caught.
Julia Alvarez

"It's a long way from Santo Domingo to the Bronx, but if anyone can go the distance, it's the Garcia girls. Four lively latinas plunged from a pampered life of privilege on an island compound into the big-city chaos of New York, they rebel against Mami and Papi's old-world discipline and embrace all that America has to offer."

Denise Chavez

Teresina Avila is a divorced, thirty-something Chicana working in Cabritoville, New Mexico. Her lover will never leave his wife and ties Tere's heart in knots. Her diversions center around her best friend, Irma, and her membership in the Pedro Infante Fan Club. A hilarious and heartrending story about the fictions women weave to justify loving the wrong mate.

Carolina Garcia-Aguilera
"Gambling runs through the blood of the Navarro family. And like the luck needed to score big, the Navarro clan will certainly need a lot of it, if they're going to hold themselves together through a hilariously highstakes game of family history and secrets. Having heard her entire life of the lost glory of La Estrella -- 'The Star,' the name of the casino the Navarro family owned in Havana before Castro took power -- Esmeralda thinks it a joke when her mother informs her and her siblings Sapphire, Ruby, and Quartz that the family has a duty to bring La Estrella back into existence.

"With a mandate given to her through a dream, the Navarro matriarch announces that in order for La Estrella to thrive once more, the family must be reunited in Miami. Only there's a hitch: the youngest daughter, Diamond, a journalist living in Las Vegas, is missing. The family must find a way to rescue her, not only in time to restore the family's lost business to its shimmering glory, but also to save Diamond's life."

Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez

"The 'him' in MAKE HIM LOOK GOOD is Ricky Biscayne, sexy Latin singing sensation who has taken the pop world by storm. The women who orbit him include:

  • Milan, Ricky's new publicist, smart as a whip and chubby as only a girl who still lives at home with her parents can be
  • Geneva, Milan's sister and as lean and chic as Milan is not; her Club G promises to be Miami's hottest opening ever
  • Jasminka, Ricky's gorgeous Serbian model wife, who finally might eat a little something now that she's pregnant
  • Irene, a firefighter whose high school romance with Ricky was the last love in her life, eking out an existence for herself and her daughter.
  • Sophia, who is beginning to suspect that she and Ricky Biscayne look a little too much alike
  • Jill Sanchez, an omniverous media-manic Latina star who has crossed over from CDs to perfume, clothes and movies

Set in and around Miami, with its vibrant music, club and modeling scenes, MAKE HIM LOOK GOOD is irresistible fiction."

Cristina Garcia

In 1857, when Chen Pan signs a contract that will take him from China “beyond the edge of the world to Cuba,” he has no idea that he will be enslaved on a sugarcane plantation . . . or that he will eventually, miraculously, escape his bonds and embark on a prosperous life in Havana’s Chinatown . . . or that he will buy a mulatto woman out of slavery and take her into his home and heart . . . or that he will end his long days in Havana, surrounded by children and grandchildren, as Cuban as he is Chinese.

Edgardo Vega Yunqué
"An epic novel of jazz, race and the effects of war on an American family This sweeping drama of intimately connected families --black, white, and Latino-- boldly conjures up the ever-shifting cultural mosaic that is America. At its heart is Vidamia Farrell, half Puerto Rican, half Irish, who sets out in search of the father she has never known. Her journey takes her from her affluent home to the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where her father Billy Farrell now lives with his second family. Once a gifted jazz pianist, Billy lost two fingers in the Vietnam War and has since shut himself off from jazz.

"In this powerful modern odyssey, VidamÍa struggles to bring her father back to the world of jazz. Her quest gives her a new understanding of family, particularly through her half-sisters Fawn, a lonely young poet plagued with a secret, and Cookie, a sassy, streetsmart homegirl who happens to be "white." And when VidamÍa becomes involved with a young African-American jazz saxophonist, she is forced to explore her own complex roots, along with the dizzying contradictions of race etched in the American psyche. Edgardo Vega YunquÉ vividly captures the myriad voices of our American idiom like a virtuoso spinning out a series of expanding riffs, by turns lyrical, deadly, flippant, witty, and haunting."

Gabriel Garcia Marquez
"On her twelfth birthday, Sierva Maria – the only child of a decaying noble family in an eighteenth-century South American seaport – is bitten by a rabid dog. Believed to be possessed, she is brought to a convent for observation. And into her cell stumbles Father Cayetano Delaura, who has already dreamed about a girl with hair trailing after her like a bridal train. As he tends to her with holy water and sacramental oils, Delaura feels something shocking begin to occur. He has fallen in love – and it is not long until Sierva Maria joins him in his fevered misery."
Ana Castillo
Carmen Santos, a flamenco dancer, whose affair with her married director has begun to sour, begins seeing his godson, and a furious love triangle takes shape
Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
"[Latinas in their late 20's] take Los Angeles by storm in Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez' delicious new novel. Marcella, Olivia and Alexis have bonded not only over the trouble with men but about how tough it is to make life work in L.A. no matter what you do. Marcella is a hot, young television actress, hardly able to enjoy the life she's bought for herself and certainly not enjoying her body, which is never quite perfect enough.

"Olivia's boy is her toddler son--and she's tethered to him and to her suburban mommy track so tightly the other girls sometimes cringe. Alexis has a smart mouth and an ample body; she's a beautiful musician's manager with loads of style but about enough self-esteem to fill a Prada card case. Her complicated love affair with the casually sexy Cuban rapper Goyo is a deeply satisfying romance that will delight readers almost as much as the emotional richness and girly fun of the heroines' friendship."

Luis Alfredo Garcia-Roza
Chief of Copacabana precinct Espinosa is more than happy to interrupt his paperwork when a terrified young man arrives at the station with a bizarre story. A psychic has predicted that he would commit a murder, it seems, and the prediction has become fact in the young man's mind. It's a case more appropriate for a psychiatrist or philosopher, but, rising to the challenge, Espinosa slowly enters the web of a psychologically conflicted man. As the weather shifts and the southwesterly wind -- always a sign of dramatic change -- starts up, what at first seems like paranoia becomes brutal reality. Two violent murders occur, and their only link is the lonely, clever man who had sought Espinosa out a few days earlier for help.
Kathleen Alcala
"Unfolding a rare and haunting gift for story-telling, Kathleen Alcal begins her tale in the 1880s and follows three generations of the Carabajal family on a path of forbidden love and hidden belief that wends across the Mexico-Texas border. Estela risks the security of her comfortable home and children to pursue a consuming passion. Her husband, Zacar as, is guided by an inexplicable spiritual longing and his affinity for the indigenous people who dwell in the cliffs of Casas Grandes. Zacar as's father, a cloistered Jew, studies the ancient wisdom of the Torah and the Cabala, hoping to unlock the secrets of his son's future. The truth, when it comes, will surprise all of them."
Mario Vargas Llosa

"It is 1961. The Dominican Republic languishes under economic sanctions; the Catholic church spurs its clergy against the government; from its highest ranks down, the country is arrested in bone-chilling fear. In The Feast of the Goat, Vargas Llosa unflinchingly tells the story of a regime's final days and the unsteady efforts of the men who would replace it.

"His narrative skates between the rituals of the hated dictator, Rafael Trujillo, in his daily routine, and the laying-in-wait of the assasins who will kill him; their initial triumph; and the shock of fear's release--and replacements. In the novel's final chapters we learn Urania Cabral's story, self-imposed exile whose father was Trujillo's cowardly Secretary of State. Drawn back to the country of her birth from 30 years after Trujillo's assasination, the widening scope of the dictator's cruelty finds expression in her story, and a rapt audience in her extended family."

Sandra Cisneros

"Acclaimed by critics, beloved by readers of all ages, taught everywhere from inner-city grade schools to universities across the country, and translated all over the world, The House on Mango Street is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero. Told in a series of vignettes – sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous – it is the story of a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become."

Laura Esquivel

"The intensely anticipated new novel from the author of the international bestseller Like Water for Chocolate tells a cosmic love story, a Mexican Midsummer Night's Dream that stretches from the fall of Montezuma's Mexico to the 23rd century. A skillful and delightfully playful blend of fictional genres, The Law of Love features 48 pages of dramatic, color illustrations by Miguelanxo Prado, Spain's premier artist of the graphic novel, plus a compact disc with arias and Mexican."

Mark Sundeen
"Mark Sundeen needed to stage a comeback. His first book was little read, rarely reviewed, and his book tour was cancelled. So when a careless big city publisher calls with an offer for a book about bullfighting, Mark assumes this is his best and last chance to follow the trajectory of his literary heroes.

"To be sure, Sundeen has never been to a bullfight. He doesn't speak Spanish. He's not even a particularly good reporter. Come to think of it, he's probably one of the least qualified people to write a book about bullfighting, even in the best of circumstances. But that doesn't stop Mark Sundeen.

"After squandering most of the book advance on back rent and debts, Sundeen can't afford a trip to Spain, so he settles for nearby Mexico. But the bullfighting he finds south of the border is tawdry and comical, and people seem much more interested in the concessions and sideshows. There's little of the passion and artistry and bravery that he'd hoped to employ in exhibiting his literary genius to the masses.

"To compensate for his own shortcomings as an author, Sundeen invents an alter ego, Travis LaFrance, a swashbuckling adventure writer, in the tradition of his idol, Ernest Hemingway. But as his research falters, his money runs out, and the deadline approaches, Sundeen's high-minded fantasies are skewered by his second-rate reality. Eventually, Travis LaFrance steps in to take control, and our narrator goes blundering through the landscape of his own dreams and delusions, propelled solely by a preposterous, quixotic, and ultimately heartbreaking insistence that his own life story, no matter how crummy, is worth being told in the pages of Great Literature."

Judith Ortiz Cofer
"La nina seria, the serious child. That's how Consuelo's mother has cast her pensive, book-loving daughter, while Consuelo's younger sister Mili, is seen as vivacious--a ray of tropical sunshine. Two daughters: one dark, one light; one to offer comfort and consolation, the other to charm and delight. But something is not right in this Puerto Rican family. Set in the 1950s, a time when American influence is diluting Puerto Rico's rich island culture, Consuelo watches her own family's downward spiral. It is Consuelo who notices as her beautiful sister Mili's vivaciousness turns into mysterious bouts of hysteria and her playful invented language shift into an incomprehensible and chilling 'language of birds.'

"Ultimately Consuelo must choose: will she fulfill the expectations of her family--offering consolation as their tragedy unfolds? Or will she risk becoming la fulana, the outsider, like the harlequin figure of her neighbor, Mario/Maria Sereno, who flaunts his tight red pedal pushers and empty brassiere as he refuses the traditional macho role of his culture. This affecting novel is a lively celebration of Puerto Rico as well as an archetypal story of loss, the loss each of us experiences on our journey from the island of childhood to the uncharted territory of adulthood."

Sandra Benítez
"Annie Rush, a 34-year-old Minnesotan-seems to be living every woman's dream: She has an interesting job, loyal husband, and adorable sons. But just beneath the surface, a series of family tragedies haunts her, including the death of her twin sister more than three decades earlier. Her father, plagued by guilt, shot himself soon thereafter; a few years later Annie's brother Hub Hart left home for good. While they haven't had contact for decades, the death of their mother compels Annie to embark on a search for her lost sibling. Hub's trail takes Annie all the way to Oaxaca, Mexico, a town exuberant with Christmas and the Night of the Radishes celebrations."
Janet Peery
Captures the relationship between Luisa Solis, a girl from a Sierra Madre mountain village, who has been impregnated in an ancient fertility ritual, and her employer, Mrs. Eddie Hatch, a woman of strong will and narrow worldview.
Louis de Bernieres

"This rambunctious first novel by the author of the bestselling Corelli's Mandolin is set in an impoverished, violent, yet ravishingly beautiful country somewhere in South America. When the haughty Dona Constanza decides to divert a river to fill her swimming pool, the consequences are at once tragic, heroic, and outrageously funny."

Carlos Fuentes
"Laura Díaz is a complicated and alluring heroine whose brave honesty and good heart prevail despite her losing a brother and a grandson to the darkest forces of Mexico's turbulent, corrupt politics, and a son to the ravages of a disease that consumes him before his greatness can be fulfilled. Yet in the end she is a happy woman, despite the tragedy and loss, for she has borne witness to and helped to affect her country's life, and she has loved and understood with unflinching honesty."
Elena Poniatowska
"A vibrant portrait of the controversial photographer and radical Tina Modotti discusses her love affair with Edward Weston, her trial for the murder of another lover, her militant communism, and her work for the international revolutionary organization Red Aid."
Isabel Allende
"Born in southern California late in the eighteenth century, he is a child of two worlds. Diego de la Vega's father is an aristocratic Spanish military man turned landowner; his mother, a Shoshone warrior. Diego learns from his maternal grandmother, White Owl, the ways of her tribe while receiving from his father lessons in the art of fencing and in cattle branding. It is here, during Diego's childhood, filled with mischief and adventure, that he witnesses the brutal injustices dealt Native Americans by European settlers and first feels the inner conflict of his heritage.

"At the age of sixteen, Diego is sent to Barcelona for a European education. In a country chafing under the corruption of Napoleonic rule, Diego follows the example of his celebrated fencing master and joins La Justicia, a secret underground resistance movement devoted to helping the powerless and the poor. With this tumultuous period as a backdrop, Diego falls in love, saves the persecuted, and confronts for the first time a great rival who emerges from the world of privilege.

"Between California and Barcelona, the New World and the Old, the persona of Zorro is formed, a great hero is born, and the legend begins. After many adventures -- duels at dawn, fierce battles with pirates at sea, and impossible rescues -- Diego de la Vega, a.k.a. Zorro, returns to America to reclaim the hacienda on which he was raised and to seek justice for all who cannot fight for it themselves."