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The Resource A handbook to luck, Cristina García

A handbook to luck, Cristina García

Label
A handbook to luck
Title
A handbook to luck
Statement of responsibility
Cristina García
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
Over a period of 20 years, Enrique Florit loses his love, Leila Rezvani, only to find love again with El Salvador immigrant, Marta Claros
Review
  • /*Starred Review*/ Birds grace the pages of Garcias most transfixing and moving novel to date, emblems of transcendence and hope in defiance of the gravity of fate. As in her earlier novels, including Monkey Hunting (2003), Garcia writes from several points of view as she tells unpredictably linked stories of people in flight from oppression during the 1970s and 1980s. Young Enrique Florit accompanies his exuberantly flamboyant and talented Cuban magician father, Fernando, as he flees Castro and the wrath of his late wife's family, seeking fame and fortune in Hollywood and Las Vegas. As war ravages El Salvador, Marta Claros, whose brother lives in a tree, leaves her abusive husband and bravely makes her way to California, where she finds sanctuary with a kind Korean factory owner. Leila Rezvani allows herself a brief interlude of pleasure in Las Vegas before returning to Tehran and a disastrous arranged marriage. Garcia's vital characters cope with exile, violence, and crushed dreams as they struggle toward love and freedom. As Garcia constructs concentric worlds of conflict and longing, discerns cultural paradoxes and human contrariness, and writes rhapsodically of nature's beauty, life emerges as a cosmic game of chance under luck's misrule. -- Donna Seaman (Reviewed 02-01-2007) (Booklist, vol 103, number 11, p31)
  • Garcîa's solid triptych opens in 1968, where Enrique Florit is a nine-year-old struggling to retain memories of his mother, who died in a bizarre accident in Cuba during one of his father Fernando's magic acts. Father and son relocate to Las Vegas, where Enrique develops a fascination with gambling. The novel then shifts to Marta Claros, a young girl attempting to eke out a living for her family in San Salvador, El Salvador, by selling used clothing. Marta's younger brother, Evaristo, escapes from their violent stepfather and takes up residence in a coral tree, only to witness brutal acts committed by soldiers at night. Marta, meanwhile, devises a plan to immigrate to the U.S., hoping to send for Evaristo later. In yet another part of the world, Leila Rezvani grows up amid luxurious yet isolated surroundings in Tehran, where her mother flirts with the horticulturist, her father is absorbed by his work, and her brother is dying. Enrique emerges as the central figure as years pass, first entangling with Leila, whom he meets in a casino, and later with Marta, with whom he has a platonic relationship. Garcîa (Dreaming in Cuban) lovingly portrays her characters grappling with misfortune and luck in unfamiliar surroundings. (Apr.) --Staff (Reviewed January 8, 2007) (Publishers Weekly, vol 254, issue 2, p29)
  • García's latest traces the parallel lives of three people from disparate backgrounds as they seek to create some sort of equilibrium in their lives. Enrique and his father have fled Cuba and are just marking time in Las Vegas until Papi hits the big time as a magician. Marta remains focused and self-reliant as she escapes from poverty and brutality in El Salvador. Leila grows up in a privileged yet emotionally damaged family in Tehran. Following their stories as the years go by, one wonders how their paths will eventually cross—and they do cross, sort of. Though the characters are skillfully drawn, they lack the forward motion that would serve to propel them toward a predestined intersection of fate. García's skills as an author have shone brightly in some of her earlier works—Dreaming in Cuban and The Ag üero Sisters among them—but this novel does not capture the reader's imagination in quite the same way. For larger fiction collections.—Susanne Wells, P.L. of Cincinnati & Hamilton Cty. --Susanne Wells (Reviewed February 15, 2007) (Library Journal, vol 132, issue 3, p110)
  • /* Starred Review */ The fortunes of three vividly characterized protagonists are deftly delineated in the Cuban-born author's fourth novel.Its structure of juxtaposed episodes follows the pattern employed in her earlier books The Agüero Sisters (1997) and the NBA-nominated Dreaming in Cuban (1992). In a compound narrative spanning the years 1968–87, we observe the distinct paths traveled and the hopeful meetings of a young Cuban immigrant (Enrique Florit), a refugee from El Salvador's political violence (Marta Claros) and the daughter of a prosperous Iranian family (Leila Rezvani) who's reluctant to be trapped in a loveless arranged marriage. We first encounter nine-year-old Enrique living in Los Angeles, after he and his widowed father, Fernando (a stage show magician), have fled Cuba following the Castro revolution. Over the ensuing years, Enrique survives both grief over his mother's death (in a freak onstage accident) and his flamboyant "Papi's" parental deficiencies and financial irresponsibility, fending for himself when the pair move to Las Vegas and he discovers his poker-playing skills. Parallel narratives depict Marta's victimization by her mother's emotional inertia (after her father has left them), as well as their country's brutal military police, from all of which she escapes to California and a safe (albeit compromised) marriage; then Leila, whose family's peregrinations bring them to America and her into surprised, and tempting, contact with Enrique. Garc"a braids their stories together skillfully, making us accept coincidences that bring them together, however briefly, embedding serious political and familial issues in subtly presented personal relations. The amusing extravagances that crop up (e.g., Papi's efforts to channel the energies and artistry of a legendary Chinese conjurer) never compromise their credible, endearing humanity. Best of all, the permutations of bad and good "luck" that shape their individual and shared lives are quite ingeniously compared and contrasted.Another winner for Garc"a. (Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2007)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
160590
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1958-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
García, Cristina
Dewey number
813/.54
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Cuban Americans
  • Cuban Americans
  • Manners and customs
  • Social conditions
  • San Salvador (El Salvador)
  • Tehran (Iran)
  • California
  • El Salvador
  • Iran
Label
A handbook to luck, Cristina García
Instantiates
Publication
Note
Novel
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
629942
Dimensions
23 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
259 pages
Isbn
9780307264367
Lccn
2006048736
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780307264367
  • (OCoLC)71582212
Label
A handbook to luck, Cristina García
Publication
Note
Novel
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
629942
Dimensions
23 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
259 pages
Isbn
9780307264367
Lccn
2006048736
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780307264367
  • (OCoLC)71582212

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      710 W. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, 78701, US
      30.2713021 -97.7460168
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