Cori’s Pick: Dominicana by Angie Cruz
Dominicana is the third novel by Angie Cruz and was shortlisted for the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction. By the end, you’ll easily see how this beautiful but heartbreaking work has earned the prestigious award.
Set in 1960s Dominican Republic, Ana Canción’s fierce mother has a plan to get her family to the promised land of America. To that end, 15 year old Ana is married off to 32 year old Juan Ruiz. With her suitcase, this strange man, and the weight of the world on her shoulders, Ana moves to New York City in 1965. Here, the next year of Ana’s life unfolds, including the false promises of the man Juan will be, the intrigue of this bustling new city, and the dangers of being an illegal immigrant in America. This is a coming of age story that is raw, but the love, hope, and determination of Ana keeps you flipping pages and leaves you with plenty to think about.
Cruz was inspired to write this story about her mother’s experience, but when told about the project her mother simply said, “Who would be interested in a story about a woman like me? It’s so typical.” Perhaps this is a ‘typical’ story of sacrifices made by families determined to find a better life in America, but it is certainly not a forgettable one. This is a timely read that I highly recommend.