eBook In the Name of SalomeAuthor Julia Alvarez – Wildlives.co
I love Julie Alvarez She develops her characters so so well you want to know what happens to them and then don t want to story to end.review by Debbis Lee Wesselman This deeply imaginative portrait of the Dominican poet Salome Urena and her daughter Camila captures the people behind the revolutions in the Dominican Republic and Cuba without idealizing them, without relegating them to mouths spouting political dogma As Salome says to her young husband when he chides her for writing a non revolutionary poem, I am a woman as well as a poet This is exactly what Alvarez accomplishes an adept melding of the public and private sides of her characters to give her book real heart.This novel spans over a hundred years, from the 1850 s the beginning of Salome s story to the 1970 s the end of Camila s story Because the two stories are interspersed and are not told chronologically, the time and place can sometimes be confusing despite the chapter headings meant to give the reader his bearings Don t let this frustrate you the story is well worth this flaw My advice is just to give yourself up to Alvarez s skill and let her take you where she wants. Based on my daughter s handwriting on the note I was using as a bookmark, I first started this book when she was 4, nine years ago It was a time where between children and work and the introduction of smart phones, I was starting to lose the ability to read books, and I didn t make it far in this one With the passing of time and purposeful focus, I ve relearned to read books and started this one over from the beginning I can see why this one wasn t well paired for me at that time The skipping around in time across two women s lifetimes needs focus to keep track of the characters, the geopolitics and plot events But with attention this go round, I really enjoyed the book I liked how contemporary the voice is for both women even though many of the events take place than 100 years ago At core, it s a character driven book of family connections in a specific geopolitical time, but it also touches on many issues race, sex, sexual orientation, treatment of women, family, betrayal, forgiveness, coming of age, grief, aging Really liked it. This is an extraordinary book The fictional account of a real family from the Dominican Republic, the book follows the lives of both famed poet Salome Urena de Henriquez and her daughter, Camila I particularly loved its structure the chapters alternate between Salome and Camila s point of view, and while Salome s story starts at the beginning of her life and progresses toward the end, Camila s proceeds backwards Salome dies when Camila is very young, yet the two women have a profound effect on each other, so it only makes sense that book s structure leads them to each other, to the brief time that mother and daughter have to spend together The political struggles of the Dominican Republic and Cuba play a large role here, but Alvarez wisely emphasizes the complicated relationship between mothers and daughters, particularly for the tongue tied Camila who lives in her mother s verbally eloquent shadow Very, very glad I read this. Ure a fue poeta durante algunos de los a os m s importantes en Republica Domicana, cuando, despu s de independizarse de Hait , volvi a ser colonia de Espa a un tiempo para tener protecci n Todos sus hijos ocuparon grandes cargos o fueron grandes intelecturales, entre los cuales sorprend a Camila Salom , la menor, que obtuvo un doctorado en Cuba, fue conferencista en Am rica Latina, profesora en Vassar y termin su carrera en la Universidad de La Habana y dando clases en su tierra natal Nunca hab a o do hablar de ninguna de las dos Por una serie de casualidades In the Name of Salom fue el libro por el que acab conociendo a Julia Alvarez Su obra m s reconocida es How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents C mo las chicas Garc a perdieron sus acentos , justo el libro que le inmediatamente despu s, tambi n gracias a una serie de casualidades En la biblioteca lo liberaron cuando yo estaba en lista de espera bastantes semanas antes de lo planeado y acab ley ndolo, a pesar de ser uno de los libros menos reconocidos y aclamados de Julia lvarez, s lo para descubrir que entre sus p ginas se escond a la vida ficcionalizada, por supuesto de Salom Ure a y su hija, Camila Salom.El libro tiene una estructura curiosa pues une dos l neas temporales la primera empieza cuando Camila Salom abandona Estados Unidos para trasladarse a Cuba, lo m s cerca que puede ir de su patria sin pisarla realmente porque jur no volver mientras Trujillo, el dictador, gobernara la segunda, empieza justo con la independencia de Hait de la Republica Dominicana, cuando Salom Ure a era apenas una ni a Desde ese momento, las dos historias van a correr hasta encontrarse, una hacia atr s, la de Camila, y otra hacia adelante, la de Salom.Respecto a esta estructura, hay opiniones realmente encontradas, pues la mayor a prefiere la narraci n en primera persona de Salom Ure a Entiendo por qu , pues durante la primera parte del libro, son esas partes las que aportan m s a la trama, pero, conforme la historia de Camila retrocede vamos entendi ndola un poco m s y, al menos en mi caso, apreci m s toda su historia una vez que pude ver el resultado completo Aun as , durante el principio s que sent un poco el tedio.Reconozco que no s hasta qu punto la vida de Salom y su hija fueron alteradas para prop sitos de ficci n, pero por lo que he investigado, la mayor parte, la esencia, se ha mantenido fiel Me queda claro que no es lo mejor que puede ofrecer Julia Alvarez despu s de leer otro de sus libros, pero s que es un libro interesante y, al menos para los interesados, muy bueno para aprender un poco sobre la cultura Dominicana Hay una parte en especial con la que me identifiqu una amiga de Camila le dice que lo siente, pero que en realidad nunca hab a o do de su madre, Salom Ure a, como poetisa Me record a m misma, que nunca antes hab a o do ni siquiera su nombre y me hizo preguntarme cu ntos otros nombres nunca he o do, cu ntos no oir nunca.Salom Ure a fue importante en su pa s porque, adem s de sus poemas patri ticos, que public primero bajo seud nimo y luego con su propio nombre, fund la primera escuela para mujeres de la Rep blica Dominicana, apoyada por su marido, Francisco Henr quez y Carvajal, que m s tarde fue presidente del pa s Su hija, Camila, no se qued atr s fue co fundadora de una de las principales asociaciones feministas culturales en Cuba y particip en la reestructuraci n de la Universidad de la Habana No todo eso est mencionado en el libro, por supuesto, pues este no es una biograf a, sino un libro de ficci n, finalmente, pero s es el libro que me ha abierto los ojos sobre estas dos mujeres impresionantes. The Barnes Noble Review La Musa De La Patria In Recent Years, Novelists Mona Simpson Anywhere But Here , Karla Kuban Marchlands And Susannah Moore My Old Sweetheart , Among Numerous Others, Have Memorably Explored The Mother Daughter Relationship, Showing Us The Conflicted, Often Painful Intersections Of The Lives Of Their Multigenerational Characters But In Julia Alvarez S New Novel, In The Name Of Salome, The Mother, Dominican Poet And Political Muse Salom Ure A, Only Lives Long Enough To Hear Her Three Year Old Daughter Camila Recite One Of Her Consumptive Mother S Poems What We Get, Then, Is A Compelling Work Of Fiction Based On Remarkably Tireless Research And Shaped By Camila S Reach Into The Past, Into Her Mother S History And Her Mother S Place In History, In Order To Make Sense Of The Choices She Has Made About Her Own A Masterful Manipulator Of Time, Alvarez Alternates Points Of View, Shuttling Us Not Only Back And Forth Between Salom And Camila, But Also Moving Us Forward In Salome S Life As She Moves Us Backward In Camila S Salom Writes In Secret As A Child, Publishes Briefly Under A Pseudonym And Soon Emerges As Herself, A Figure Of Inspiration For A Nation But All The While She Longs For That Other Kind Of Passion, The One Her Family And Her Readers Would Like To Believe She Is Above The Passionate Love Of A Man Sadly, Though She Finds That Love In Papancho, He Is Never Fully Hers He Belongs In Turn To His Country, To His Studies, And Inevitably To Another Woman How Salom Withstands Losing This Managain Andagain Has To Do With What We All Withstand Wisely And Unwisely In The Name Of Love Camila Writes Poetry Only As A Mature Woman As A Child Her Life Is Shaped By The Political Values That Shape Papancho S Life Those Values Find Only Cautious Expression In The US Where She Studies At The University Of Minnesota And Later Becomes A Professor At Vassar But In Cuba, Where She Spends The Last Years Of Her Life, She Fulfills The Dream Of Both Her Mother And Father As A Vital And Dedicated Participant In Fidel Castro S Revolutionary Experiment Through Skillful Mechanics Alvarez Makes Characters Of Time Itself And The History That Marks It And What Troubling History It Is, Spanning Over Years In The Life Of The Dominican Republic, Where The Government Changes Hands With As Much Frequency As A Se Orita Changes Her Linens, And Depending On The President, The Pantheon Of Heroes Changes, One Regime S Villain Is The Next One S Hero, Until The Word Hero, Like The Word Patria, Begins To Mean Nothing But If History Renders Language Meaningless, What Is Left Only The Struggle To Make Meaning, And Only Love Makes That Struggle Real And Worthwhile On This Matter Mother And Daughter Agree So This Is Also A Love Story, In Which Salom Discovers That She Will Give Up Everything Her Writing, Her Social Activism, Finally Her Health For The Man She Loves, And Camilla Discovers That She Will Sacrifice Her Secure Teaching Position In The US The Approval Of Family, Friends And Erstwhile Lovers For The Very Thing Her Mother S Passionate Poetry Taught Her Love For The Land And The People Who Give Life To It Alvarez S Skillful Prose Styling Distinguishes The Two Women Not Only Through The Details Of Their Lives But Also Through Their Meticulously Wrought Voices Moreover, Just As Interesting As What Distinguishes Them From One Another Is What Unites Them The Pull Of Public Life On Their Private Lives And The Challenges Presented By The Conventions That Govern Their Lives As Women And They And We Thrill Equally To The Ultimate Discovery We Re All Reaching For, That Hushed And Holy Momentwhen The Word Becomes Flesh In A Book Rich In Extended Metaphor, Where Poetry And Idealism Play A Huge Role, We Are Never Encumbered With Abstraction This Is A Writer Going At Full Tilt Wry, Wise, Ironic, Forgiving She, Like Both The Women Of This Novel, Is An Educator, Though Neither Didactic Nor Condescending Even Though We Know From The Beginning The Details About The End Of Both Mother S And Daughter S Lives, Alvarez Manages To Sustain An Air Of Suspense Throughout, The Point Being Not What Happens, But How It Comes About, And At What Cost Susan Thames Is The Author Of A Book Of Short Stories, AS MUCH AS I KNOW Her Novel I Ll Be Home Late Tonight Was A Barnes Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection A pensive book, seen through the lens of a daughter who lost a famous mother at a young age Having known a couple people like that minus the famous part of the mother , I found the character true to reality, having that nebulous uncertain quality that seeks to entwine her identity with the ungraspable mother Usually, I like stronger characters, bold and decisive ones But, situated against a backdrop of revolutions with passion pouring out of everyone else s ears, the contrast of the character was subtle and beautiful. We have a five star In the Name of Salome is a novel that takes the reader through a journey of 100 years of Caribbean history featured are real historical people and events so you get a good dose of history lessons The book is told in 2 perspectives, opening with Camila Henriquez Ure a, age 60 in 1960 as she leaves her job teaching in Vassar College to travel to Cuba were young revolutionary Fidel Castro is urging people to come and join him Camila is the daughter of famed poetess, Salome Ure a the national poet of Dominican Republic The second perspective is from Salome s POV which is narrated in 1st person Salome s story is told in linear form from 1858 to the moment of her death Camila s story starts in 1960 and goes back in time so that both women met when Salome dies and Camila is born That s the technical aspect of this novel but it s about so much.There are 2 overarching themes in this novel the first and the most impactful for me was the love of patria Patria would be most easily translated to love of country relating it to the English word of patriot patriotism It s that deep rooted love towards your country of birth, it calls to you through your life and the love for it is as passionate as the love for a significant other or a child Both women are affected by it in different ways Salome, who never leaves the island and whose poetry inspired a nation to seek freedom from oppression and create a just and free land and Camila who left Dominican Republic at age 3 and was raised in Cuba but still yearns for her country The second theme is the love found in family be is sisters, fathers, brothers, mothers, etc We explore different relationships through the novel and Alvarez really zooms in on the connection of a daughter who never knew her mother and her life long quest to feel close to her.Other themes done very well are racism and colorism within the Caribbean community along with feminism, religious themes and homosexuality.Needless to say, I fell in love with this novel and I think it s because it resonated very deeply with me, it became personal I grew up in the Caribbean and I wrote poetry about the love of my island as a child The description of how the mind of a poet works was so relatable to me that I highlighted the crap out of this book.The two main characters are Salome, who is strong willed, passionate, and spunky She spends her life being the matriarch to a country in ruins, in her 40 years of life there are a total of 33 revolutions within in the island Her father teaches her poetry, tells her to save her tears because the tears are a poet s ink We watch her grow up, we watch her fall in love with a man who disillusions her, we watch her relationship with her sister and her children and to her country Then we have Camila who became motherless at the age of 3 and spends her life trying to grasp at the straws of her past while life as the daughter to an exiled president Camila who questions her sexuality in a time where having feelings for a woman was considered the greatest taboo Camila, who is painfully shy and is constantly living in the shadows of her other successful family.It is an incredibly moving story and one I will highly recommend This is my first piece by Alvarez and I cannot wait to explore the rest of her novels because if they re anything like this or better I will have nothing but good things to say. I read this for a book club and didn t realize until the end that it was based on a true story I think I would have been less annoyed by some of the storyline if I had known that up front In the Name of Salome is written about a famous poet from the Dominican Republic and her daughter My favorite thing about this book is its unique structure The chapters alternate between the mother s story told in the first person and the daughter s story told in the third person , but they also mirror each other from front to back both in timeline and chapter title For example, the first chapter for the mother El ave y el nido is about the mother when she is born, whereas the last chapter of the book Bird and Nest is about the daughter when she is born The book progresses as the mother ages and as the daughter s story is told in reverse starting when she is an elderly woman and working toward her birth The chapter titles reveal this up front as the Spanish chapter titles for the mother s story are bookended by the English chapter titles for the daughter s story This is of a clue for people familiar with Spanish most of the book club members didn t notice this , however the years are also listed at the beginning of each chapter so it s easy enough to catch the pattern after a few chapters I thought it was a really compelling way to tell the stories and enjoyed the culmination as these two women meet at the end with the birth of the daughter If I could rate based on structure, I would probably rate this a 4.5 and the format was really what captivated my interest throughout Switching back and forth between stories and moving forward and backward in time depending on whose story it is can be a little disorienting I found myself pausing with each new chapter to get my bearings and it took a few pages to really get into each chapter as my brain adjusted to the stories Since the stories obviously overlap, the characters, places and events are mentioned from both perspectives which can make it difficult to keep everything straight but the challenge was fun for me I had a short amount of time to read the book so I think it helped to read large portions of the book at once Others mentioned that they had a hard time following the book which may have been partly due to reading small chunks here and there I also enjoyed the use of Spanish language throughout With a Spanish background is was not difficult at all to follow the very limited Spanish that was incorporated Many of the Spanish words that were used were followed up with an English translation nearby although if you aren t familiar with Spanish you don t necessary know that, as members of my book club noted The use of Spanish helped set the context and gave a sense of familiarity or authenticity to the story I almost wish there would have been The writing itself was quite beautiful It held my interest and often surprised me with incredibly poetic and insightful descriptions and metaphors Various styles were used like a whole chapter that consisted of brief letters written back and forth between husband and wife that really engaged the emotions You got what felt like an insider s look from the writing with phrases and vocabulary and cultural references that made it seem like you were listening to your grandmother telling about her youth I really enjoyed the author s style of writing.The content itself was good, but there were some elements that I didn t like Being based on a true story, it s hard to know if it was the author or the source material that influenced any particular theme In the Acknowledgements the author admits that all inventions, opinions, portrayals, errors in this book are my sole responsibility, but it s impossible to know which parts of the story fall into those categories Not being familiar with really any of the actual history of the poet or the nation, I dislike the tension of not knowing what is true and what isn t and would have to error on the side of considering this to be a work of mostly fiction Fiction or not, I was a little annoyed with the negativity toward the U.S and North Americans that was referenced several times even though almost half of the story takes place in the U.S There was also quite a bit of adultery and illicit relationships including a homosexual relationship between the daughter and her best friend that never really goes anywhere both have relationships with men also , though I appreciated that the author was very tactful in her writing dealing with these themes and refrained from being graphic or explicit in any sense I also disliked the secular catholicism represented in the book The title is derived from an alteration of the sign of the cross that an aunt teaches the daughter in order to remember her mother In the name of the Father, Son and in the name of Salome Its flippant creation and frequent use throughout the book without any hint as to the significance of such an alteration was grating Although not Catholic, I disliked the overarching ethics of the family which were focused on politics and la patria than anything Religion, when referenced, was either a hinderance or merely a cultural norm to be adapted to their purposes Even family took a backseat to political and cultural ambition The dysfunctional family inflicts one wound after another on each other as they strive for what comes to seem as the entirely impossible dream of peace in their country Indeed the concept of patria is never defined though it is the driving force or nagging tie of the characters Everyone seems to be miserable as they pursue the elusive goal with various tactics and incredibly fleeting successes Lastly, I struggled to keep up with the places and characters involved in much of the plot The family itself had many members but political, religious and societal figures where also talked about frequently and it was hard for me to keep them straight, though it didn t seem super necessary to do so My own ignorance of the relevant geography made it a little difficult to keep track of where the family was at any given time Due to political exiles and other reasons the family member spent time in at least France, the U.S., the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Argentina, Mexico which were sometimes referenced by the cities in which someone lived which were sometimes unfamiliar to me This was an interesting story, creatively told I appreciated learning about the history of the Dominican Republic which is the main goal of the book club for which I read it to enjoy traveling through reading and I really loved the structure of the book, the writing, and the Spanish language that was incorporated here and there The characters, though, did not impress me They seemed misguided and mostly unhappy, constantly searching and striving for something that would not bring them real peace or joy and wrecking relationships with each other along the way True meaning purpose significance were not found, at least from how they characters are portrayed and it seemed like the legacy of the mother and her poetry is all but forgotten It ultimately made me sad for them that they spend their lives chasing something that left them empty in the end. Once again the book club selection this month took me to a place that I know very little about, the Dominican Republic This is a historical fiction novel based on real people, with literary liberties taken by Ms Alvarez for a bit of interest.The story follows Salome Urena, the national poet of DR during its early days of independence from Spain, and her only daughter, Salome Camila The book begins with Camila in her sixties, retiring from her teaching position at a university and trying to figure out what to do with her life She looks to her mother s poems, who died when she was only three years old, for clues Her story line continues to go backwards, as far back as her earliest memories just before her mother s death Salome s story starts from her earliest memories as a child and goes forward to her death.At first, this unusual time shift in the novel was unsettling and difficult for me to adjust to, but as the story continued and I got to know the women better, it made absolute sense and was in fact, quite touching when their stories met I thought it was a wonderful and creative way to show how we are connected to our past, even as we move forward into our future.The characters themselves are interesting and I love that Ms Alvarez is giving a female perspective to historical incidents, which tend to be dominated by male points of view She highlights the women s great accomplishments and activism, things that could not have been easy, especially given the time and cultural norms, however, I felt like she portrayed them as rather weak and uncertain about themselves Like they sort of stumbled upon history making and I suspect that there was a lot intention and strength Perhaps Ms Alvarez wanted to showcase their humanity, their frailties, despite their accomplishments, which I can appreciate because its something we can all relate to.Overall, a really good read and one I would recommend. I m finally done with this book It didn t take that long to read, but it felt like forever, because I really want to give my attention to Called Out of Darkness Randy told me to read this because he is teaching it, so Randy if you have some insights, I d love to hear them Alternating between the stories of two women, a mother, national poet of the Dominican Republic, that s the title I give her and her daughter who never knew her mother except through legends, letters and her mother s poetry Mom, Salome, died when daughter, Camila was 3 Salome s life was heartbreaking I thought, mainly because her husband was a cad and in love with causes than he ever was with her Camila s life was harder to pin down, mainly because the chapters about her life seemed like glimpses, tantalizing ones, but then you d just get into her story and it would be back to Salome s story again The other thing about Camila is the book starts at the end of her life and works backward, for Salome s life it is simply working from her childhood to her adulthood and finally her death I don t know why I felt restless and unsatisfied through the whole book Was I supposed to feel that way b c that s how both Camila and her mother felt Camila because she is in her mother s shadow, chasing it, trying to make her life feel as big and as earth shaking as she imagines her mother s was The truth is, that Salome was just as unsatisfied, she gave up her poetry to teach a school for girls and to raise her children and ultimately she never had the love she needed from her husband Wow The I write about this, the depressed I feel.