From time to time, a writer bursts on to the scene with a compelling novel of such extraordinary power, maturity, and insight that it leaves an indelible mark. Such is the case with Loida Maritza Pérez, whose luminous storytelling will captivate you even as it breaks your heart. Iliana believed that by attending a college more than five hours from New York City, she could gain independence and escape the watchful eyes of her overprotective, religiously conservative parents. She soon realizes, however, that familial bonds are impossible to break, and that barriers created by time and distance can be easily collapsed. A disembodied voice which Iliana believes is her mother's haunts her nights with disturbing news about her sisters: Marina is careening toward a mental breakdown; Beatriz has disappeared; Rebecca continues in an abusive and dysfunctional marriage. Convinced that she might be of help, Iliana reluctantly returns to New York City. In this dislocating urban environment, she confronts all the contradictions, superstitions, joys, and pains of someone caught between two cultures but who is intent on finding a home. Narrated in electrifying prose and inhabited by characters who are as boldly imaginative as they are completely believable, Geographies of Home is a stunningly original debut from a major new literary talent.
Geographies is not a women's or black or Hispanic or immigrant novel, even though it has elements of all of those. It's a riveting, haunting tale of survival that will force you to rethink your perceptions of Hispanic life, big families, mental illness and home.