Named one of the best books of 2018 by NPR, Real Simple, Lit Hub, The Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Post, Kirkus Reviews, and The New York Public Library "A saga rich with origin myths, national and personal...?astillo is part of a younger generation of American writers instilling literature with a layered sense of identity."-Vogue How many lives fit in a lifetime? When Hero De Vera arrives in America-haunted by the political upheaval in the Philippines and disowned by her parents-she's already on her third. Her uncle gives her a fresh start in the Bay Area, and he doesn't ask about her past. His younger wife knows enough about the might and secrecy of the De Vera family to keep her head down. But their daughter-the first American-born daughter in the family-can't resist asking Hero about her damaged hands. An increasingly relevant story told with startling lucidity, humor, and an uncanny ear for the intimacies and shorthand of family ritual, America Is Not the Heart is a sprawling, soulful debut about three generations of women in one family struggling to balance the promise of the American dream and the unshakeable grip of history. With exuberance, grit, and sly tenderness, here is a family saga; an origin story; a romance; a narrative of two nations and the people who leave one home to grasp at another.
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by Lauren Castillo
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"This is not your typical coming-of-age story. Hero De Vera arrives in America with mangled hands and a checkered family history. She's been disowned by her parents and is disoriented by her new surroundings, a plight that listeners will empathize with. Narrator Donnabella Mortel characterizes the mostly Filipino characters in this story of immigrant hopes and dreams with a punchy delivery and high energy. Hero's pluckiness is enhanced by Mortel, as are the personalities of the colorful aunts, uncles, and neighbors that make up her new community. Mortel dramatizes their roots without exploiting their status as foreigners. Her immersive performance places the listener within a multigenerational culture that is striving to make good on the American dream. M.R. © AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine"
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