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In person at Brookline Booksmith! Celebrate the release of Las Madres with author Esmeralda Santiago, in conversation with David Valdes.
From the award-winning, best-selling author of When I Was Puerto Rican, a powerful novel of family, race, faith, sex, and disaster that moves between Puerto Rico and the Bronx, revealing the lives and loves of five women and the secret that binds them together
They refer to themselves as “las Madres,” a close-knit group of women who, with their daughters, have created a family based on friendship and blood ties.Their story begins in Puerto Rico in 1975 when fifteen-year-old Luz, the tallest girl in her dance academy and the only Black one in a sea of petite, light-skinned, delicate swans, is seriously injured in a car accident. Tragically, her brilliant, multilingual scientist parents are both killed in the crash. Now orphaned, Luz navigates the pressures of adolescence and copes with the aftershock of a brain injury, when two new friends enter her life, Ada and Shirley. Luz’s days are consumed with aches and pains, and her memory of the accident is wiped clean, but she suffers spells that send her mind to times and places she can’t share with others.
In 2017, in the Bronx, Luz’s adult daughter, Marysol, wishes she better understood her. But how can she when her mother barely remembers her own life? To help, Ada and Shirley’s daughter, Graciela, suggests a vacation in Puerto Rico for the extended group, as an opportunity for Luz to unearth long-buried memories and for Marysol to learn more about her mother’s early life. But despite all their careful planning, two hurricanes, back-to-back, disrupt their homecoming, and a secret is revealed that blows their lives wide open. In a voice that sings with warmth, humor, friendship, and pride, celebrated author Esmeralda Santiago unspools a story of women’s sexuality, shame, disability, and love within a community rocked by disaster.
ESMERALDA SANTIAGO is the author of the novel Conquistadora and the memoirs When I was Puerto Rican and Almost A Woman, which was adapted into a Peabody Award–winning movie for PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, she lives with her husband, documentary filmmaker Frank Cantor, in New York.
David Valdes is the author of the nonfiction books Homo Domesticus, The Rhinestone Sisterhood, and Today Show pick A Little Fruitcake, as well as a dozen produced plays. A former Boston Globe columnist and HuffPost blogger whose posts have received over a million hits, he also wrote an advice column for Medium, and was recently featured in the New York Times’s Modern Love column. He teaches writing at Boston Conservatory and Tufts. David lives in the Boston area with his teen daughter.
Founded in 1967, the Puerto Rican Festival of Massachusetts is a cultural organization that builds community across the Commonwealth through celebration, service, and the arts. The organization seeks to champion the Puerto Rican community across the Commonwealth - including the thousands of Boricuas who live, work, play, and study here. PRFMA hosts a variety of programming throughout the year (including their namesake, the annual summer festival), and collaborates with organizations and businesses across the state with the purpose of amplifying Puerto Rican stories and voices.
This event will take place at street level. If possible, the event will be livestreamed to YouTube. ASL interpretation may be provided (based on the availability of interpreters) but must be requested at least 2 weeks in advance of the event. Seats are limited. Please email us at email@example.com as soon as possible if you require ASL interpretation, guaranteed seating, or other accommodations. We will do our best to serve your needs!