A poignant and nuanced portrait of a Dominican teenager's arranged marriage and immigration to New York City in the 1960s
SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2020
'A story for now, an important story . . . told with incredible freshness' Martha Lane Fox, Chair of Judges, Women's Prize 2020
'The harsh reality of immigration is balanced with a refreshing dose of humour' The Times
'This compassionate and ingenious novel has an endearing vibrancy in the storytelling that, page after page, makes it addictive reading' Irish Times
'Engrossing . . . the story itself and Ana, the protagonist are terrifically interesting. Loved this' Roxane Gay
'This book is a valentine to my mom and all the unsung Dominicanas like her, for their quiet heroism in making a better life for their families, often at a hefty cost to themselves. Even if Dominicana is a Dominican story, it's also a New York story, and an immigrant story. When I read parts of Dominicana at universities and literary venues both here and abroad, each time, audience members from all cultures and generations came up to me and said, this is my mother's story, my sister's story, my story' Angie Cruz
Fifteen-year-old Ana Cancion never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up with in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she must say yes. It doesn't matter that he is twice her age, that there is no love between them. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So on New Year's Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. But at the bus terminal, she is stopped by Cesar, Juan's free-spirited younger brother, who convinces her to stay.
As the Dominican Republic slides into political turmoil, Juan returns to protect his family's assets, leaving Cesar to take care of Ana. Suddenly, Ana is free to take English lessons at a local church, lie on the beach at Coney Island, dance with Cesar at the Audubon Ballroom, and imagine the possibility of a different kind of life in America. When Juan returns, Ana must decide once again between her heart and her duty to her family.
In bright, musical prose that reflects the energy of New York City, Dominicana is a vital portrait of the immigrant experience and the timeless coming-of-age story of a young woman finding her voice in the world.
A tale from that island called girlhood. Cruz describes this shipwrecked age with giddy accuracy. A season of hope, vulnerability, and disaster. Especially for a girl of color. Gorgeous writing. Gorgeous story - Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street
Cruz is a writer of such insight, such force. Dominicana is a book that grabs you, that moves both quickly and deeply, as it explores how our very personal desires and destinies are shaped by forces of culture, politics, economics, language, migration. The kind of book I am always longing to read; a sexy book that is also meaningful. I couldn't put it down - Justin Torres, author of We the Animals
This gorgeous new novel by Angie Cruz holds an unflinching gaze on one young immigrant woman's life - its hardships, its hopes, and its richly depicted loves. Ana's story is filled with music and reverence for survival, and for joy. An essential read for our times - Cristina Garcia, author of Dreaming in Cuban
Angie Cruz, I'm so glad the time has come. What a wonderful, nuanced, and insightful writer - Edwidge Danticat, author of Brother I m Dying and Breath, Eyes, Memory
This coming-of-age novel with its unforgettable young heroine takes on the pressing questions of the day - immigration, identity, the claim to Americanness - with a deceptively light touch and a whole lot of charm - Ayana Mathis, author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie
Dominicana is beautiful, engaging, and cuts right to the heart of what it is to be a dutiful young female from a poor country who is bright in every sense of the word, full of love and hope. And who is also made to be the hope of her family - Mary Gaitskill, author of The Mare and Veronica
Angie Cruz is a luminary, and Dominicana feels so right for this moment. The novel is lyrical, moving, and full of the nuance and complexity and richness of being bicultural, bilingual. But what I most admire about Cruz's work is how she captures the texture and tenor of being an immigrant woman, caught between worlds and loyalties - Julia Alvarez, author of In the Time of the Butterflies
Angie Cruz is the reason I read. She writes with visionary force and in her fiction is enough beauty, wisdom, and, yes, truth-telling, to awaken the soul - Junot Diaz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao