The Aguero Sisters

A mysterious death and suicide haunt the main characters of this novel. Set against the backdrop of both Castro’s Havana and the Cuban-exile community in the U.S., “The Aguero Sisters” weaves a lyrical tale of love, loss and family secrets.

The sisters are estranged, middle-aged step-siblings. Passionate Reina lives with her lover in a crumbling Havana apartment, surrounded by musty books and wildlife specimens. Once devoted to serving “la revolucion,” Reina finds her commitment languishing after a near-fatal brush with lightning leaves her body a patchwork of skin grafts.

Worlds away, Constancia lives a comfortable, if sterile, existence in the U.S. When she and her husband retire to Florida, and he hooks up with a group of Cuban exiles training to overthrow Castro, Constancia embarks on a business venture of her own. Her skin-care company is an overnight hit among Cuban exiles in Miami.

Circumstance soon brings the two sisters together and forces them to confront the truth about their past: their mother’s untimely death and their father’s subsequent suicide. Floating in and out of the narrative is the voice of the father, whose remembrances fill in important gaps in the family history and reveal the source of the sisters’ alienation.

Through the many voices that compete for space in the novel’s pages, Garcia speaks eloquently about issues of Cuban identity and the complexities of family relationships. Though you may be tempted to devour this book in one sitting, don’t. It deserves to be savored.

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