Behind the Book Reading
Join us for a diverting evening at KGB Bar on April 13 when Angie Cruz, Sheila Maldonado, and Nelly Rosario will headline the Behind the Book Reading Series.
WHEN: Thursday, April 13, 2006, from 7:00-9:00pm
Angie Cruz is the author of two novels, Soledad, and Let It Rain Coffee. She is the recipient of numerous awards including a New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship, a Camargo Fellowship, and most recently the Fund for the Arts award from the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture. Angie is currently working on her third book as well as a screenplay adaptation of her first novel, Soledad. She splits her time between New York City and Turin, Italy.
Sheila Maldonado is a poet whose works have been published in Rattapallax, Meridians, and Promethean. Sheila holds an M. A. in Creative Writing from the City College of New York, which awarded her the Jack Zucker and Raymond Patterson Poetry Prize. Sheila teaches creative writing in New York City public schools through the Teachers & Writers Collaborative. She currently lives in Manhattan.
Nelly Rosario is the author of Song of the Water Saints, winner of a 2002 PEN Open Book Award. In 2001, the Village Voice distinguished Nelly as one of seven Writers on the Verge. She received a BA in engineering from MIT and an MFA in fiction from Columbia University, and is currently an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University and Medgar Evers College of CUNY. Nelly was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Brooklyn, New York, where she continues to live.
An immigrant family is tested by a series of problems in this unsentimental American dream story by
Cruz (Soledad). Cruz's unvarnished, sympathetic account of immigrant struggles suggests she is a writer worth
Character matters in Cruz's second novel (after Soledad)
about immigrants from the Caribbean. The Colon family, struggling to make a
life for themselves in New York despite the weight of their histories in the
Dominican Republic, is never caricatured…. Cruz displays an uncommon prowess in
handling parallel narratives, seamlessly moving the story back and forth in
time and place.
Cruz (Soledad, 2001), chronicler of New York Dominican
life, traces a family's embittering struggle to establish itself between a
revolutionary Dominican Republic (circa 1965) and early 1990s Bronx…. Cruz
handles this sad tale with dignity devoid of melodrama. She demonstrates enormous affection for her
characters without sentimentalizing their naivet? or ignorance…. A powerful,
affecting second effort.
Angie Cruz's Let It Rain Coffee is a stunning sweep of
history, memory, and fantasy that demonstrates a talent unmatched by any other
This first novel from Cruz, a native of Washington Heights in Manhattan, adeptly transcends all the
tired and hackneyed classifications of what is now commonly known as the ‘"immigrant experience. "
Sidestepping the approach of using the novel as a guide for taking readers on a sightseeing tour
of how the "other half" lives, Cruz instead chooses to probe the complex inner
lives of a first- and second -generation Dominican family living in Washington
Heights…. this is a promising debut from an author to keep an eye on.
In her first novel,
Cruz effectively uses the narrative voices of a fictional Dominican American
family to create a collective consciousness of the family. Strong ties to their homeland and the
socioeconomic realities of biculturalism in the U. S. bring the realism of the
immigrant experience to the novel…. Cruz is similar to Sandra Cisneros, with her
fleshed out, multigenerational family members and colorful neighbors who
struggle and survive in the barrio. Life is both bitter and sweet, and the past
can overlap with the present.
Tinted with the magical realism of Gabriel Garc'a M?rquez, Cruz's first novel is that of man
and woman, selective amnesia and persistent memories, redemption and survival.
Nobody's ever really given us such a revealing look at New
York's Dominican population before. . . . Cruz, in this determinedly real yet often
magical novel, offers canny insights into family life.
She is a writer of grace and true grit, an uncommon and laudable combination of gifts.
Four generations of Dominican woman are poetically evoked in this impressively assured first
novel…. Rosario has the potential to become a major novelist; she's one to
watch, and this work is worthwhile for the voluptuous images alone.
In her debut novel,
Rosario tells the story of four generations of women in the Dominican Republic
within the context of nearly a century of that country's history…. Named a
Writer on the Verge by the Voice Literary Supplement, Rosario gracefully
depicts a living and breathing community of
individuals who work hard and fight to endure, who offer support and sympathy
but also seek to undermine and destroy one another. In this absorbing tale,
Rosario suggests that despite the suffocating effects of a harsh and bitter
reality, love and hope can survive and perhaps thrive.
Effervescent debut about the lives of three women in a
Dominican family…. an engaging and memorable first from a passionate young
Like a Caribbean
Scheherazade, Nelly Rosario casts a spell on her readers with this stirring
saga of three generations of Dominican women whose yearning becomes our
own. What they want and what we get reading Song of the Water Saints is a
sense of a luminous world, complex and layered, full of passion and
adventure. This novel is a song, restless and moving. An accomplished and
promising first novel.
An electrifying debut by a writer whose words I have long awaited. Powerfully
written, meticulously imagined and arresting to its core, Nellie Rosario's novel
is a flame for the mind and the heart, the sort of gift you are endlessly grateful for.
What a refreshingly wonderful debut…. Nelly Rosario has woven a rich tapestry of Dominican history
with the vivid details of unforgettable lives. Poetic, transporting, heartbreaking. Bravo.
Epic and poetic, Nelly Rosario's Song of the Water Saints is a gorgeous first novel.
Like old photographs
or a love story playing on a distant radio, Rosario's prose resonates with an
elegant sadness. A three-part melody, each sung in a different era by women whose
lives are ever changing. From the Dominican Republic to the USA, they
sing the history of our people, where we came from, what we've become and where
Song of the Water Saints does not mess around, it's fun, intelligent and
unnerving. It's the story of four women and the story of an island, histories deftly
observed. Nelly Rosario's wonderful first novel manages what few literary works do: to
meld entertainment and elucidation. I couldn't put the damn thing down, it kept moving me.