COCONUTS FOR THE SAINT by Debra Spark

COCONUTS FOR THE SAINT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 The Boston-based editor of Twenty Under Thirty reveals her own promise with this magical first novel, centered around a set of identical girl triplets and their mysterious father, who tries to lose himself in sunny Puerto Rico. In 1968 Sandrofo Cordero Lucero leaves Brooklyn with his three five-year-old daughters, hoping for a new, safe, anonymous life in the Caribbean. Having inherited a small San Juan bakery from his wife, who died in childbirth, Sandrofo promptly learns a baker's skills and spends the next ten years kneading dough and baking wedding cakes while his daughters serve a motley crew of customers over the counter. The three Lucero sisters--Tata, a dramatic actress-to-be; Melone, the smart one; and Beatriz, a sensitive girl who refuses to speak--are too obsessed with the town's daily scandals and intrigues to wonder why their quiet, handsome father refuses to seek a girlfriend and never talks about his past. Their complacency is challenged when 35-year-old Maria Elena Pico, an employee at a local art gallery, falls in love with Sandrofo and begins to question his daughters about their prePuerto Rican life. The girls realize they know almost nothing about their early history, and this discovery prompts them to explore their own emerging personalities and discover who they have become. Meanwhile, Maria Elena persists in digging into Sandrofo's origins, playing 20 Questions with her lover and finally consulting a local psychic. Her persistence and Sandrofo's refusal to own up to his duplicity eventually bring disaster to his family. In the end, Maria Elena and the girls learn that it is the love they share, more than who they happen to be, that provides home and security for them all. A captivating, sweetly lyrical tale by an up-and-coming talent. (First serial to Agni, the Boston Globe, and Epoch)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-571-19846-5
Page count: 294pp
Publisher: Faber & Faber/Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1994




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