Reina Castillo is the alluring young woman whose beloved brother is serving a death sentence for a crime that shocked the community, throwing a baby off a bridgea crime for which Reina secretly blames herself. Read more...
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Reina Castillo is the alluring young woman whose beloved brother is serving a death sentence for a crime that shocked the community, throwing a baby off a bridgea crime for which Reina secretly blames herself. With her brother's death, though devastated and in mourning, Reina is finally released from her prison vigil. Seeking anonymity, she moves to a sleepy town in the Florida Keys where she meets Nesto Cadena, a recently exiled Cuban awaiting with hope the arrival of the children he left behind in Havana. Through Nesto s love of the sea and capacity for faith, Reina comes to understand her own connections to the life-giving and destructive forces of the ocean that surrounds her as well as its role in her family's troubled history, and in their companionship, begins to find freedom from the burden of guilt she carries for her brother s crime.
Set in the vibrant coastal and Caribbean communities of Miami, the Florida Keys, Havana, Cuba, and Cartagena, Colombia, with The Veins of the Ocean Patricia Engel delivers a profound and riveting Pan-American story of fractured lives finding solace and redemption in the beauty and power of the natural world, and in one another.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-06-06
- Reviewer: Staff
After Carlito Castillo, on Florida's death row for tossing his girlfriend's infant daughter off a bridge, commits suicide, his sister, Reina, a manicurist, abandons her weekly prison vigil and moves from Miami to the Florida Keys. She wants to disappear, to process her loss and dissect her brother's actions, yet she quickly befriends Nesto, a Cuban exile. She learns of Nesto's own jail-like life in Cuba, and about the family he left behind and continues to support. Before long, the two become inseparable, romance blossoms, and Nesto begins teaching Reina about Yemayá, orisha of the oceans, whom he claims Reina must appease in order to right her sibling's past. Now working in guest relations at a tourist dolphinarium, Reina uses Nesto's teachings to observe the park's confined dolphins, captives stolen from their natural habitat for the amusement of humans, and she begins a journey of self-discovery and reflection, developing a plan that will bring one of Yemayá's children back to the open sea. Engel (Vida) has written a thought-provoking novel about different types of prisons, including Carlito's physical imprisonment and Reina's mental and internal incarceration. The author writes with vivid language, building a world of equal parts misery and hope. (May)