The Book of Unknown Americans
Set in Redwood Apartments, a two-story cinderblock complex just off a highway in Delaware, The Book of Unknown Americans is the story of the Rivera family--relocating to the U.S. after their daughter, Maribel, suffers a life-changing accident--and the Toro family from Panama. When Maribel and Mayor Toro fall in love, it marks the beginning of a friendship between the two families, whose web of guilt and love and responsibility is at the 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, yielding an extraordinary reading experience that offers a resonant new definition of what it means to be American. Suspenseful, wry and immediate, rich in spirit and humanity, The Book of Unknown Americans is a work of rare force and originality.
"[The Book of] Unknown Americans is at its most powerful not when it's giving us a documentary-like look at immigrant life in one Delaware town, but when it's chronicling the lives of its two central characters. . . . It is Maribel and Mayor's star-crossed love that lends this novel an emotional urgency, and it's the story of their families that gives us a visceral sense of the magnetic allure of America, and the gaps so many immigrants find here between expectations and reality." The New York Times