THE ISLAND OF ETERNAL LOVE by Daína Chaviano

THE ISLAND OF ETERNAL LOVE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A saga that pays homage to the multistranded ethnicity of Cuba.

The Cuban-born author, now a Miami resident, makes her English-language debut with a fragmented novel that moves between contemporary journalist Cecilia, a lonely Cuban refugee living in Miami, and the stories told to her by Amalia, a mysterious figure she meets in a bar. Amalia speaks of an early-20th-century Chinese family immigrating to Cuba; an African slave girl named Caridad; and Angela, a Cuban child visited by a troublesome imp called Martinico, only visible to the female members of her family. Links are forged between these families as the years pass and new generations emerge. Angela’s son José falls in love with Caridad’s daughter Mercedes, a beautiful prostitute possessed by a demon. Their daughter is Amalia, who falls for Pablo Wong, a descendent of the original Chinese immigrants. The couple elopes and eventually has a daughter, Isabel, but their lives are disrupted by political upheaval as the country descends into its “dire fate.” Cecilia eventually assuages her sad exiled heart when she meets and falls for Miguel, Amalia’s grandson, who tells her that the storyteller she met died a year earlier.

Although many popular buttons are touched in this female-centered novel, busy with color, music, whimsy and romance, it remains curiously uninfectious.

Pub Date: June 12th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-59448-992-1
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Riverhead
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2008




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