Phyllis's Reviews > In the Name of Salome

In the Name of Salome by Julia Alvarez
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's review
Jan 29, 2009

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Read in January, 2009

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 book. And the weaving of fiction into the facts of this real history is well done. However, the layout of this book is so confusing that it was difficult to read. It goes back and forth between the stories of the mother (an iconic poet of the DR) and her late-in-life daughter, who became a professor of Spanish in the US. I'd just get to understanding who was who in a narrative when the scene shifted back to the previous story. And it didn't go chronologically, either (although the chapters were headed with dates). All the Spanish phrases were not translated to English, so it is fortunate I understand the language and some of the culture behind it.
All in all, I enjoyed the language, and the knowledge of yet another story from the author of how individuals can live under tyranny (both in the DR and in Cuba, as well under the prejudices against "dark" people still alive in the US). I recommend this to my Latina family, and hope Ms. Alvarez will continue publishing, albeit in a more clear manner.

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