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America Is Not the Heart

por Elaine Castillo

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3021286,794 (3.5)21
"How many lives fit in a lifetime? When Hero De Vera arrives in America--haunted by the political upheaval in the Philippines and disowned by her parents--she's already on her third. Her uncle gives her a fresh start in the Bay Area, and he doesn't ask about her past. His younger wife knows enough about the might and secrecy of the De Vera family to keep her head down. But their daughter--the first American-born daughter in the family--can't resist asking Hero about her damaged hands. An increasingly relevant story told with startling lucidity, humor, and an uncanny ear for the intimacies and shorthand of family ritual, America Is Not the Heart is a sprawling, soulful debut about three generations of women in one family struggling to balance the promise of the American dream and the unshakeable grip of history. With exuberance, grit, and sly tenderness, here is a family saga; an origin story; a romance; a narrative of two nations and the people who leave one home to grasp at another"--… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 11 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
This book focuses on three generations of Filipino immigrants in the Bay Area. The book opens (extremely compellingly) by focusing on Paz and her immigration , and then we turn to focus on her niece and daughter, both named Geronima (but with different nicknames, Hero and Roni). Hero, ultimately the main character, had joined the New People's Army in the Philippines in the 1970s and, after two years of imprisonment and torture, joined her aunt and their family in the US in the early 90s. The book follows the family and traces their joys and sorrows after Hero's arrival.

I really like this and think that it was really well done. I've read a lot of reviews complaining that the initial second-person prologue with Paz's story is more narratively compelling than the later sections; while I'd agree that that's true, the rest is stilly really well done. There are a lot of flashbacks to Hero's earlier years that were definitely confusing at first, though I think they started to make more sense later. Another thing that I really liked about this book was the use of language. Tagalog (and, occasionally, Pangasinense and Ilocano) is used pretty often throughout this book in recounting dialogue, and probably about half of it is translated--not being able to understand it was definitely a surprising reading experience, but I think it worked really well. I'd definitely recommend this one! ( )
  forsanolim | May 18, 2022 |
An excellent novel about immigration, family, love, romance, deceit, kindness, culture, and lives chosen.

Hero dropped out of medical school to join a revolutionary group in her native Philippines. Ten years later she is captured and jailed for two years. Upon her release she is disowned by her upper-class parents. Shortly after she is sent (illegally) to live with her favorite uncle and his family in Milpitas. And thus begins her third life. In the American suburbs, in a house, running mundane errands with her 8-year-old cousin, finally meeting friends and a girlfriend, hanging out, eating the same food and speaking the same languages she always has. It is comfortable and also fairly odd, as she constantly wonders about her co-revolutionaries, her parents, her aunt--how are they, where are they, what are they doing now?

Castillo does a great job illustrating suburban San Jose in the 1990s. Strip malls that are all the same yet so different to those that hang out or work at their particular strip mall. The hours of work put in by those trying to support so many people in different countries, the loss of job status among immigrants, the trying to do more so your children can have more. Is it all worth it?

This may be the first of a trilogy. I hope so. ( )
  Dreesie | Jan 22, 2021 |
I had high hopes for this one. A couple/few segments were impactful. Overall, though, I thought it was exceedingly long without being particularly engaging. I didn't connect with or like any of the characters. There's a lot of discussion about food and sex, but nothing especially deep or emotional. If the parts that mattered (their experiences) were developed more, I think it could have been stunning. ( )
  joyblue | Mar 14, 2020 |
I thoroughly enjoyed this story of love, hardships, and family of three Filipino women, one actually being a very precocious child, Roni, she was quite a treat. ( )
  Jolynne | Mar 25, 2019 |
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Castillo, Elaineautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Vee, MattDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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I knew I could trust a gambler because I had been one of them.    Carlos Bulosan, America Is in the Heart
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So you're a girl and you're poor, but at least you're light-skinned--that'll save you.
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"How many lives fit in a lifetime? When Hero De Vera arrives in America--haunted by the political upheaval in the Philippines and disowned by her parents--she's already on her third. Her uncle gives her a fresh start in the Bay Area, and he doesn't ask about her past. His younger wife knows enough about the might and secrecy of the De Vera family to keep her head down. But their daughter--the first American-born daughter in the family--can't resist asking Hero about her damaged hands. An increasingly relevant story told with startling lucidity, humor, and an uncanny ear for the intimacies and shorthand of family ritual, America Is Not the Heart is a sprawling, soulful debut about three generations of women in one family struggling to balance the promise of the American dream and the unshakeable grip of history. With exuberance, grit, and sly tenderness, here is a family saga; an origin story; a romance; a narrative of two nations and the people who leave one home to grasp at another"--

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