Loosely based on her mother’s life story, Dominicana by Angie Cruz is an engrossing novel about immigration, motherhood, and finding independence. Our protagonist, Ana, is 15 years old when her mother makes a business deal that lands Ana married to Juan Ruiz, who is almost 20 years her senior. She leaves her home in the Dominican Republic to start a new life in New York City with papers that identify her as 19 years old. Once there, Ana knows no one and does not speak English, and Juan turns out to be a possessive, abusive, and disloyal husband. Although her marriage is a symbol of the hope that her family will soon be able to join her in N.Y.C. and escape the political turmoil at home, the life that Ana is now living is not what she had imagined it would be. But when Juan leaves New York for a trip back to the D.R., Ana begins finding herself again.
Set against the backdrop of 1960s New York, an era which is depicted in great detail in the novel, Cruz writes a visceral story that is at once heartbreaking and full of hope. Dominicana is both universal and laser-focused on the Dominican immigrant experience. Join the Indy Book Club on Wednesday, October 6, 6 p.m., at Municipal Winemakers (22 Anacapa St.) as we discuss the themes and story behind Angie Cruz’s beautiful work of fiction as well as other books written by Latinx authors.
Learn more at independent.com/indybookclub.