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In the Name of Salome

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  2,787 ratings  ·  147 reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review - La Musa de la Patria

In recent years, novelists Mona Simpson (Anywhere But Here), Karla Kuban (Marchlands) and Susannah Moore (My Old Sweetheart), among numerous others, have memorably explored the mother-daughter relationship, showing us the conflicted, often painful intersections of the lives of their multigenerational characters. But in

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Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 1st 2001 by Plume (first published 2000)
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Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge DanticatWide Sargasso Sea by Jean RhysThe Farming of Bones by Edwidge DanticatWhite Teeth by Zadie SmithIn the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
Caribbean/West Indian Diaspora Literature - Women
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Best Family Sagas
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Community Reviews

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Cheryl
Aug 04, 2014 Cheryl rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lovers of history in literature
Everything of ours--from lives to literature--has always been so disposable, she thinks. It is as if a little stopper that has contained years of bitterness inside her has been pulled out. She smells her anger--it has a metallic smell mixed in with earth, a rusting plow driven into the ground.

Around 1844, the Dominican Independence War gave the Dominican Republic freedom from Haiti. Years later, the Dominican President would turn the country over to Spanish rule. Disorder was inevitable. A r
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Sue
I love Julie Alvarez! She develops her characters so so well you want to know what happens to them and then don't want to story to end.
review by Debbis Lee Wesselman: "This deeply imaginative portrait of the Dominican poet Salome Urena and her daughter Camila captures the people behind the revolutions in the Dominican Republic and Cuba without idealizing them, without relegating them to mouths spouting political dogma. As Salome says to her young husband when he chides her for writing a non-revo
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Michelle
Once again the book club selection this month took me to a place that I know very little about, the Dominican Republic. This is a historical fiction novel based on real people, with literary liberties taken by Ms. Alvarez for a bit of interest.

The story follows Salome Urena, the national poet of DR during its early days of independence from Spain, and her only daughter, Salome Camila. The book begins with Camila in her sixties, retiring from her teaching position at a university and trying to fi
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Judith
As much as I loved her other books, Julia Alvarez let me down a bit on this one. She writes historical fiction of Latin American culture, revolution and struggle. In The Time of the Butterflies was a fabulous example of seamless writing and fully fleshed out characters. In her book, In The Name of Salome, her characters are muddy and difficult to keep apart. There are so many different layers of struggles and switches back in forth in time, that it is difficult to keep separate who is who and wh ...more
Loyola University Chicago Libraries
This is an extraordinary book. The fictional account of a real family from the Dominican Republic, the book follows the lives of both famed poet Salome Urena de Henriquez and her daughter, Camila. I particularly loved its structure; the chapters alternate between Salome and Camila's point of view, and while Salome's story starts at the beginning of her life and progresses toward the end, Camila's proceeds backwards. Salome dies when Camila is very young, yet the two women have a profound effect ...more
Elizabeth
This is an extraordinary book. The fictional account of a real family from the Dominican Republic, the book follows the lives of both famed poet Salome Urena de Henriquez and her daughter, Camila. I particularly loved its structure; the chapters alternate between Salome and Camila's point of view, and while Salome's story starts at the beginning of her life and progresses toward the end, Camila's proceeds backwards. Salome dies when Camila is very young, yet the two women have a profound effect ...more
Natalie
In my opinion, this book was not as good as "In the Time of the Butterflies" "How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents" and "Yolanda". I loved all of those books. This one was still good, but I didn't enjoy it as much. It is based on the life of Salome Uren~a - a Dominican Poet who had a huge impact on her country. It was really interesting to learn about her, I hadn't heard of her before. The author, Julia Alvarez trades off each chapter, writing one in the voice of Salome (the mother), and the ...more
Joleen
This is my second favorite book from one of my favorite writers. I love the concept of how she presents the mother and the daughter and moving both forward and backward through their individual stories until they meet. Like the book of hers that utterly wowed me, "In the Time of the Butterflies," this book delves into history while keeping the characters fresh and vivid and realistic, and it deals with a difficult time in the Dominican Republic and strong women who stood up for what they believe ...more
Anastasia
The story itself was perfectly decent and all, the changing of the two narratives was...interesting, but the language was tedious. It took me close to a month to finish this book because the language was just too thick and boring. It may have had something to do with the smattering of random Spanish words throughout the book, I don't speak Spanish so it didn't work so well in my mind. Either way, this was a worthy story if not a good book.
Katie
I wish I knew more of the actual history of the DR & Haiti. This is a historical fiction based on a real-life family. I had glimpses of what I could learn from the book, but didn't know enough to pick up on the measure of what happened.
I had a hard time following the format - It alternates between chapters about one generation to chapters of another generation, one story goes forwards, the other goes back....
Johanna
Took me awhile to get into it. Salomes story kept me wanting more, but the back & Forth with Camilas story made it hard to push thru. It wasn't horrible, but something was missing. Not sure what.
Shirley EVHS Ong
Although I have not finished reading it, I don't think this is Alvarez's best book compared to "In the Time of the Butterflies". I do have to give her credit for choosing a format of character perspective change in the story, but I find those types difficult to read. It switches between the mother and daughter every chapter, which eventually led to jumbling the two characters together in my mind. I find it hard to follow her books, but maybe that's simply because it's hard for me to understand a ...more
Callie
I'm finally done with this book! It didn't take that long to read, but it felt like forever, because I really want to give my attention to Called Out of Darkness. Randy told me to read this because he is teaching it, so Randy if you have some insights, I 'd love to hear them.

Alternating between the stories of two women, a mother, national poet of the Dominican Republic, (that's the title I give her) and her daughter who never knew her mother except through legends, letters and her mother's poet
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Jessica
Like the only other book of hers that I've read, !Yo!, this book is constructed on an intriguing but semi-disorienting style where no two consecutive chapters are told in the same voice or by the same person. In !Yo! each chapter focused on a different member of a large family, and Alvarez switched between first person and third person tactics. Here, the chapters alternate ABABAB..., with A chapters telling the chronological story of the 'mother' from childhood through death, and the B chapters ...more
Phyllis
From the book jacket: This novel tells the story of two women -- mother and dauther, one a poet, the other a teacher -- and how they confronted the machismo in two Caribbean revolutions. Set in the Dominican Republic of the late 19th century, on the campuses of 3 American universities, and in Communisit Cuba of the 1960's, this sstory is based on the real lives of a volatile, opinionated, romantic, intrigue-loving family.
Ms. Alvarez' decriptions are superbly alive -- they get better with every
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Anna
In the Name of Salome is the story of two women, a mother and a daughter. It is written by interweaving the mother and daughter's stories between the chapters: one chapter tells the mother's story, the next comes back to the daughter's world, etc. I have read books like this before, and each time I get confused between the characters. I found the mother's story to be more enthralling, and was annoyed when the chapter ended. However, this may be the author's intent, because she wrote the mother's ...more
Patrick
Jun 24, 2007 Patrick added it
Recommends it for: erica torres
In recent years, literary authors and publishing houses have published dozens of fictionalized accounts of historical figures, with Joyce Carol Oates' BLONDE (Marilyn Monroe) and Russell Banks' CLOUDSPLITTER (John Brown) being prime examples of this genre. Because I'm tiring of such fiction, I never would have bought IN THE NAME OF SALOME if I had known Alvarez had joined this literary trend - and I would have missed out on a fabulous book as a result. Yes, this may not be Alvarez's best work, b ...more
lori
Beautifully written, poignant, and engaging piece of historical fiction which brings to life Dominican poet Salome Urena and her family. Her life story shows her relevance and impact on her 'patria' and fellow countrymen and women, as well as touches on the personal struggles of women in Dominican, Cuban, and even American society as well as many other historical, cultural, and racial issues prevalent in the US, Cuba, and the D.R.
Jan
Aug 02, 2008 Jan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Readers who enjoy historical fiction and/or Latino Literature
Recommended to Jan by: I sought more of her books after reading In The Time of the Butt
Offering an historic interpretation of a beloved Dominican poetess, this is a wonderful novel. I enjoy how it weaves a story between two heroines, Salome Urena and her daughter Camila (the former being the national poetess of Dominican Republic). The story line is woven from both of their lives and lifestories: Salome's being told from her childhood through her death, and Camila's being told from her old age going back to her early childhood. Because Salome, the mother, died when Camila was so y ...more
Katherine
I am beginning to be a fan of Julia Alvarez. This is the first book I read of hers that is based in the Dominican Republic. This story revolves around the famous poet Salomé Ureña and her daughter Camila Salomé. It is a book written from two perspectives and each chapter exchanges between both point of views. It was a little confusing at the beginning, but once you get what's happening in terms of who's who in the story, it becomes a page-turner.

I was intrigued by the story of this famous poet,
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Claudette Banda
Jul 15, 2007 Claudette Banda rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Kingsolver fans
Shelves: favs, latin-america
I thought that Alvarez did a really nice job with her details... following the revolutions in the DR, paralleling them with events in Cuba, the US, and Europe. For that reason this book deserves much merit; also there were several turns of phrase I thought remarkable, timeless, etc. Still, I can't shake the idea that the style of narration was too consistent and flat... Salome Camila (main character), having so little owned, flagrant personality growth made for a redundant latter half of the boo ...more
Evanston Public  Library
Camila's notion of home is in the constant memory of her mother Salomé--she even prays, "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of my mother, Salomé." Named Salomé Camila, she struggles with a self-imposed expectation to be as talented as or more famous than her mother Salomé. Ironically, her freedom comes at the end of her life when she returns to her "patria" to visit her gravestone. She uses the hands of an illiterate young man to help guide her as she feels the engraving. It is at this ...more
Teresa
this is, if i remember correctly, the first book I ever read with a lesbian subplot. other lesbian books and authors i've read since are Hard Love, Cherríe Moraga, Adrienne Rich, and Dorothy Allison. it's been quite some time though since i've read a book with a lesbian in it. if i don't remedy this quick i might turn into an insensitive bastard :P mental to do list for summer: a) figure out why i've never finished Dorian Gray, b) learn more about the Oscar Wilde trials, and c) read some good le ...more
Kathleen
This should have been really interesting, but somehow it felt completely bloodless. For me, the characters and the poetry did not come alive.
Rachel
Beautifully written historically-based bio on Dominican Republic Poet, Salome' Urena and her daughter Camilla. I was fasinated to read about the political turmoil in the DR and to read about how a female poet was so honored there. Her daughter's life as well was very interesting, especially in light of growing up in her famous parent's shadow and not being able to return to her home country. The narrative structure moves between the two women, it's a bit tricky at first but then makes sense. Alv ...more
Allison Long
It took a day or so to really get into this novel and not get confused with the two narratives, but overall, I really enjoyed this story. It was very compelling.
Beth
I thought it was fascinating that Alvarez chose to use first person for the nineteenth-century character and third person for the contemporary character, with each chapter alternating between voices, and the time lines going in opposite directions until the very end. Quite a writing challenge, but she brings it off. And I learned a bit about the interconnected histories of Haiti, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic without it ever feeling didactic. I was surprised that I found the mother more sympa ...more
Nicki
Well this was no 'In the Time of the Butterflies'. I was tempted to quit multiple timesm but I'm glad I stuck it out. it was vaugey worth it.
Debbie
I think I took too long to read the book - all the characters and story lines got confusing.I'm also not wild about the conceit of backward narration - even though admitting this probably marks me as a literary rube!

Alvarez tells the story of the mother, Salomé, going forward in time, and of the daughter, Camila, going backwards, until they finally intersect. But the personal is political, and the political is personal - and that's what makes these people, and the book.


THe book has some wonderfu
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Jeanette
In the name of Salome is a book not only Latinas but all women could relate to. This book is the story of a mother's life and her daughters. The mothers story is told chronologically while the daughters story is told backwards. This story not only gives you the Dominican Republic but talks about a constant struggle of a daughter to equal her mother. Salome, the mother, gave everything she could for her patria. Camila feeling like she's never going to equal her mother, keeps her dreams deferred a ...more
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Julia Álvarez was born in New York City. Her parents moved back to the Dominican Republic when Álvarez was 3 months old and she was raised there until she was 10, when the family moved back to NYC.

She is currently writer-in-residence at Middlebury College and the owner of a coffee farm named Alta Gracia, near Jarabacoa in the mountains of the Dominican Republic. The farm hosts a school to teach l
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More about Julia Alvarez...
In the Time of the Butterflies How the García Girls Lost Their Accents Before We Were Free Yo! Saving the World

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