Song of the water Saints.

Position:Book review

Rosario's Song of the Water Saints launches its story in 1916, during the American occupation of the Dominican Republic, and continues through four generations of women, although it is principally the story of the first character, Graciela. She is a teenager who is lured, with her boyfriend, to engage in sex before the lens of an American pornographer. This sets the stage for her own life as well as the narrative's musings on the state of Dominican life. Graciela is a street-smart girl in Santo Domingo, where the escalating economic crisis makes decent living conditions difficult. She prefers to pursue relationships with men, although she often recalls her mother's admonitions that she would not be better off. She is desperately in love with Silvio, who becomes a sailor, although he does not seem as intent on her. He is fascinated with the sea and travel--as is she, but it is regularly pointed out that women are not entitled to travel and explore.

Elizabeth C Martinez is a professor of Latin American and U S. Latino literature at Sonoma State University in California, and a previous contributor to Americas.

Silvio will come and go for four years until he eventually disappears at sea. It is not clear whether he died or simply did not return. He had built them a small hut, and she struggles to raise their daughter, Mercedes, with the assistance of her twelve-year-old brother, sent down from the country by her parents. As the youngster enters puberty, he makes suggestions and gets into Graciela's bed on occasion, complaining that rain drips on his cot. Although she continues waiting for Silvio's return, Graciela decides to accept the...

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