Crossing Borders, The Immigrant Voice in American Literature
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Panelist, Cristina Garcia

Cristina Garcia Cuban-born American novelist and journalist Cristina Garcia established a reputation as an important new voice in Latin American literature with her debut novel Dreaming in Cuban (1992), in which she explores the displacement of personal and cultural identity of Cuban emigres. Dreaming in Cuban, which was nominated for a National Book Award, chronicles the irrevocable effects of the Cuban revolution on the del Pino family from the 1930's to the early 1980's. New York Times reviewer Michiko Kakutani called the book a "dazzling first novel" and praised Garcia as "a magical new writer. . .blessed with a poet's ear for language, a historian's fascination with the past and a musician's intuitive understanding of the ebb and flow of emotion."

Garcia's second novel, The Aguero Sisters (1997), continues her exploration of the fracturing of identity and the quest for what constitutes Cuban-ness. Detroit Free Press reviewer Jennifer Juarez Robles praised it as "one of the most breathtaking novels of the year and confirms Garcia's mastery of infinite possibilities."

A former Time correspondent and Miami bureau chief, Garcia left Havana with her family when she was two and grew up in New York City. She has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University and the recipient of a Whiting Writers Award. She lives in Los Angeles with her daughter, Pilar.

"This is truly generous writing: Garcia animates the worlds of naturalists and electricians and cosmeticians alike with subtlety, grace, and wild unpredictability. Her two sisters are particularly enthralling--at once bigger-than-life, they speak to the Cuban movement even as they pull the reader, running, from the beginning of the book to the end." - Gish Jen

"A rich and complex novel about the entanglements of family and the possibility of redemption that comes with knowing the story of the past. In The Aguero Sisters Cristina Garcia offers us a redemptive and involving story that takes us across generations to the island and back to the mainland of the heart." - Julia Alvarez

"The Aguero Sisters illuminates the troubled relationships between parents and children, between Cuba and the United States, and between secrets and lies, with a beautifully spun elegance. Cristina Garcia offers us a profoundly moving insight into the difficult questions of identity which haunt both individuals and nations." - Caryl Phillips

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