A GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK
Shortlisted for the 2020 Women's Prize for Fiction
"Through a novel with so much depth, beauty, and grace, we, like Ana, are forever changed." --Jacqueline Woodson, Vanity Fair
Fifteen-year-old Ana Cancion never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up with in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she has to say yes. It doesn't matter that he is twice her age, that there is no love between them. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So on New Year's Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. But at the bus terminal, she is stopped by Cesar, Juan's free-spirited younger brother, who convinces her to stay. As the Dominican Republic slides into political turmoil, Juan returns to protect his family's assets, leaving Cesar to take care of Ana. Suddenly, Ana is free to take English lessons at a local church, lie on the beach at Coney Island, see a movie at Radio City Music Hall, go dancing with Cesar, and imagine the possibility of a different kind of life in America. When Juan returns, Ana must decide once again between her heart and her duty to her family. In bright, musical prose that reflects the energy of New York City, Angie Cruz's Dominicana is a vital portrait of the immigrant experience and the timeless coming-of-age story of a young woman finding her voice in the world.
- ISBN-13: 9781250205933
- ISBN-10: 125020593X
- Publisher: Flatiron Books
- Publish Date: September 2019
- Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.15 pounds
- Page Count: 336
Ana Canción is only 15 when her parents convince her to marry Juan Ruiz, a man twice her age whom she barely knows, and move with him from their home in the Dominican Republic to New York City. They hope she will be able to get a job and that she and Juan will eventually save enough to send for the rest of Ana’s family to join them.
Ana’s story, inspired by author Angie Cruz’s own mother’s experiences, is undoubtedly a familiar one. When Ana arrives in the Washington Heights neighborhood of NYC in 1965, she quickly realizes the brutal reality of her new life. Juan is a strict disciplinarian and physically abuses Ana for breaking his many rules. She’s rarely allowed out of the sixth-floor apartment they share with Juan’s younger brother, César, so she spends her days cleaning, cooking and washing their work clothes by hand.
Ana’s dreary life greatly improves when Juan returns to the politically tumultuous Dominican Republic to ensure that the Ruiz family’s assets remain safe. With her newfound freedom, Ana begins taking English lessons at a neighborhood church, goes dancing with fun-loving César and even sees a movie at Radio City Music Hall. With César’s help, she sells her homemade Dominican delicacies outside his workplace three days a week. She saves every penny, with the ultimate goal of escape, until unexpected family developments threaten to squelch her dream.
In her third novel, Dominicana, Cruz writes with warmth, empathy and remarkable perception about the immigrant experience. Engaging and illuminating, Dominicana will appeal to readers who’ve enjoyed novels by Sandra Cisneros and Julia Alvarez.