A dazzling debut about a status-driven wedding planner for New York's elite grappling with her absentmother and her Puerto Rican roots in the wake of Hurricane Maria
It's 2017, and Olga and her brother, Pedro 'Prieto' Acevedo, are bold-faced names in their hometown of New York. Prieto is a popular congressman representing their gentrifying, Latinx neighborhood in Brooklyn, while Olga is the tony wedding planner for Manhattan's power brokers.
Despite their alluring public lives, behind closed doors things are far less rosy. Sure, Olga can orchestrate the love stories of the one percent, but she can't seem to find her own . . . until she meets Matteo, who forces her to confront the effects of long-held family secrets.
Twenty-seven years ago, their mother, Blanca, a Young Lord, abandoned her children to advance a militant political cause, leaving them to be raised by their grandmother. Now, with the winds of hurricane season, Blanca has come barreling back into their lives.
Set against the backdrop of New York City in the months surrounding the most devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico's history, Olga Dies Dreaming is a story that examines political corruption, familial strife and the very notion of the American dream - all while asking what it really means to weather a storm.
Wisdom, tenderness, and abundant humor . . . I will think about its richly drawn, deeply human characters for a very long time
The extraordinary accomplishment of Olga Dies Dreaming is in how a familiar-enough tale - a woman seeking love, happiness, and fulfillment in the big city - slowly reveals itself to be something else altogether . . . the very idea of the American dream
As funny as it is insightful, as deft as it is original. In this impressive debut . . . wit and wisdom rarely combine in such a powerful one-two punch
Gonzalez gives us a gripping novel about community, family, betrayal and the complicated inheritance of diaspora - a wild and ambitious saga that shows once again how the personal is always deeply political
Gonzalez's Olga hustles, stumbles, falls and eventually finds her way . . . A poignant, scalding debut