By Donna Miscolta
Publication date: June 28, 2011
ISBN (print): 978-988-19895-9-8
Paper edition specs:
Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 perfect bound trade paperback
Page count: 342
Formats: ePub, mobi (Kindle), PDF
Word count: 95,000
During his one and only return visit to the Philippines, Johnny de la Cruz—plagued by a sense of isolation—succumbs to a quick sexual encounter with an old flame, the attractive and beguiling Bunny Piña. Years later, nineteen-year-old Winston Piña has barely finished eulogizing his recently deceased mother when he finds a letter she wrote, but never sent, to Johnny. This leads Winston into the lives of the de la Cruz family—a family to which he might or might not belong. When the de la Cruz Family Danced explores the ties within family and how they are affected by circumstances of birth, immigration, and assimilation.
This extraordinary novel illustrates a family’s long journey toward making peace—with the world, with the family, and with individual selves. Miscolta is a pitch-perfect prose stylist and a passionately empathetic creator: she savors sentence-making and attends to the all-important nuanced moments between people. This chronicle of a family is beautifully observed and heart-rendingly told, and these characters will linger long after you’ve closed the book. I feel blessed to have met this family and made the journey with them.
– Antonya Nelson, author of Bound
A smoothly written debut that sways between the Philippines and the U.S., between the present and past, and between the secrets and hard truths of its compelling characters. This is a complex story of immigration and loss that packs an emotional punch.
– Cristina Garcia, author of The Lady Matador’s Hotel
When reading When the De La Cruz Family Danced, you feel like the story is already familiar—not that it’s been told before, but that its words have the flow of memory, of having been there standing in the De La Cruz kitchen or sitting at the dinner table where there is the nostalgic talk of family meals, of family tragedies, of the heartfelt things left unsaid that are later recalled or written down in letter sent through the mail or watched in a home movie. We, as readers, aren’t a part of this life or this history and yet by reading, we see ourselves just standing at the edge of the frame in a De La Cruz family portrait. We’re family.
– Shawn Wong, author of American Knees
For her 2012 Artist Support Program project, Jack Straw resident artist Donna Miscolta produced several audio excerpts from her novel When the de la Cruz Family Danced. This excerpt is from the prologue. More audio excerpts are available at www.donnamiscolta.com. Click here to listen
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