#FridayReads: The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez

During a flight to Boston, while browsing through the Oprah Magazine I came acrossThe Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez. I think you might like this one, folks:

A boy and a girl who fall in love. Two families whose hopes collide with destiny. An extraordinary novel that offers a resonant new definition of what it means to be American.


Arturo and Alma Rivera have lived their whole lives in Mexico. One day, their beautiful fifteen-year-old daughter, Maribel, sustains a terrible injury, one that casts doubt on whether she’ll ever be the same. And so, leaving all they have behind, the Riveras come to America with a single dream: that in this country of great opportunity and resources, Maribel can get better.


When Mayor Toro, whose family is from Panama, sees Maribel in a Dollar Tree store, it is love at first sight. It’s also the beginning of a friendship between the Rivera and Toro families, whose web of guilt and love and responsibility is at this novel’s core.


Woven into their stories are the testimonials of men and women who have come to the United States from all over Latin America. Their journeys and their voices will inspire you, surprise you, and break your heart. 


Suspenseful, wry and immediate, rich in spirit and humanity, The Book of Unknown Americans is a work of rare force and originality.


Cristina Henríquez is the author of the novel The Book of Unknown Americans, forthcoming in June 2014, as well as the novel The World in Half, and the short story collection Come Together, Fall Apart, which was a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, American Scholar, Glimmer Train, Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, AGNI, and the Virginia Quarterly Review, where she was named one of “Fiction’s New Luminaries.” She is also the recipient of an Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Foundation Award. Henríquez lives in Illinois.

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