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The Fifth Sun

3.38  ·  Rating Details ·  13 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
Winner of the 3rd Annual Miguel Mrmol Prize from Curbstone Press, Mary Helen Lagasse's The Fifth Sun is an inspiring story of an immigrant who struggles valiantly for a better life for herself and her family. The young Mexican woman, Mercedes, leaves her village to work as a housemaid in New Orleans. This fast-paced novel takes her through her adventures in New Orleans, ...more
Paperback, 360 pages
Published April 1st 2004 by Curbstone Books
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Aug 24, 2015 Greta rated it liked it
New Orleans stories have been of interest to me since my one & only visit to this fascinating city. The Fifth Sun is written from the perspective of a young Mexican woman in the early 20th century. Unfortunately circumstances have not changed very much in the last 100 years with regard to those who want leave their Mexican homeland for the United States.
Jul 20, 2008 Laila rated it it was ok
I only finished this because parts of it took place in New Orleans.
Apr 22, 2008 Paul rated it really liked it
This novel is about Mercedes Vasconcelos, a young Mexican woman convinced that the road to a better life for her and her growing family passes through the United States.

Set in the early 20th century, Mercedes is used to poverty while growing up in Mexico. Armed with a name and address, she takes a boat to New Orleans, to make a better life for herself. Around this time, she has a child out of wedlock, and is told, in effect, don’t come home.

Life is hard in 1930s New Orleans, but Mercedes becomes
Nov 29, 2015 Sierra rated it liked it
I had to read this book for school. It wasn't torture to read, which is always appreciated. It was a pretty enjoyable read, there were just a lot of things I didn't like about it. I'm never a fan of books that cover a big period of time like this one, because I always feel like I'm missing out on things. I also didn't like the random characters that would appear for a paragraph or a chapter, seemingly have no purpose, and then disappear again. That's very realistic to how life is, I realize, but ...more
Gianna Mosser
Jun 08, 2014 Gianna Mosser rated it really liked it
This historical novel feels entirely engaged with a collective experience and singular at the same time. Mercedes is a protagonist that Lagasse creates with an almost journalistic distance from her subject, which allows the reader to see into the darkest corners of human interaction.
Crystal rated it really liked it
Nov 23, 2010
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Colleen Mooney
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She is bilingual: American by birth, Latina by heritage. She received her degree from Tulane University, taught English Literature at private schools in Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans.

Before turning to literary fiction, she worked as a freelance writer. Her stories having appeared in all major publications in and around New Orleans. Her articles ran the gamut of political, social, cultural, and
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