Today marks the last day of National Hispanic Heritage Month. But here at Off the Shelf, we believe you should read books about Hispanic culture all year round. To pay tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have enriched the literary landscape of the United States, I put together a list of seven books well worth reading.
Set in Colombia at the height of Pablo Escobar's violent reign, FRUIT OF THE DRUNKEN TREE follows the story of a sheltered young girl and a teenage maid whose unlikely friendship could destroy them both. This mesmerizing novel is inspired by the author's own life, and is a testament to the impossible choices women are forced to make.
One of my favorite books of the year, THE CAREGIVER is a beautiful novel about a young woman who unearths her mother's hidden life—including involvement with a civil rebel group in 1908s Rio de Janeiro. Written with vivid imagery and subtle poignancy, this novel asks us who we are—as children and parents, immigrants and citizens, and ultimately, humans looking for vital connectivity.
This series of artfully interwoven tales chronicles a community of Mexican immigrants in Los Angeles who work as cleaners, gardeners, and day laborers as they chase the American dream. Eye-opening and deeply human, it illuminates an often-hidden segment of American life.
This series of artfully interwoven tales chronicles a community of Mexican immigrants in Los Angeles who work as cleaners, gardeners, and day laborers as they chase the American dream. Eye-opening and deeply human, it illuminates an often hidden segment of American life.
An arresting debut novel, MAKE YOUR HOME AMONG STRANGERS is the story of a Lizet—the daughter of Cuban immigrants and the first to attend college. But her freshman year doesn't start as Lizet hoped, feeling lost in this new world of privilege where she can't help but be aware of her minority status. When she goes home for Thanksgiving break, a young boy whose mother died fleeing Cuba with him unexpectedly shows up, and an immigration battle ensues. Caught between life at college and life at home, Lizet must make a decision that will change her life forever.
A darkly funny and incredibly insightful novel, THE KING OF CUBA is a fictional story of Fidel Castro and an octogenarian Cuba exile obsessed with seeking revenge against the dictator. Playing host to a cast of Cuban voices, this vivid novel paints a passionate portrait of Cuba and takes readers into the mind of the aging dictator in an unforgettable way.
The Mirabal sisters, prominent opponents of Trujillo's dictatorship, are betrayed by their inner circle after plotting to overthrow the Dominican Republic's government, leaving three of them dead at the bottom of a 150-foot cliff. In this extraordinary novel, the voices of all four sisters―Minerva, Patria, María Teresa, and the survivor, Dedé―tell their own stories across the decades, speaking of hair ribbons and secret crushes, of gunrunning and prison torture, and of the everyday horrors of life under Trujillo's rule.
The Mirabal sisters, prominent opponents of Trujillo’s dictatorship in the Dominican Republic, are betrayed by their inner circle. After plotting to overthrow the government, three of the four sisters are found near their wrecked Jeep at the bottom of a 150-foot cliff.
A novel in verse, POET X is the story of an Afro-Latina heroine living in Harlem, pouring out her frustrations and her passions in a leather notebook. When Xiomara is invited to join her school's slam poetry club, she takes a risk and decides to join—refusing to be silent even if the world may not want to hear what she has to say.