Thursday, October 21st, 2010

THE WEIGHT OF MY SHADOW, a novel

With this riveting new novel, Eduardo Santiago continues the tales of Cubans in exile in the U.S. that he began with his award winning novel, Tomorrow They Will Kiss (2006) It’s 1973 and while the adults grapple with the fact that their once temporary exile from Castro’s Cuba looks to be permanent, their teenage children have to find their position in their new adopted country.
The novel focuses on fourteen-year old narrator, Jorge, and his curiosity about two neighboring brothers in their late teens, Fiery, sexy Alfonso and the shadowy, withdrawn Gerardo (Gerry), two brothers openly at war with each other. Alfonso is determined to respect his parents wishes and sticks close to the Cuban community while Gerardo explores American subculture of cheap drugs, easy sex and rock and roll.
Jorge’s curiosity turns to obsession when Alfonso takes him into his confidence only to later thoughtlessly push him away. Miracles, tragedies and a unique form of Cuban humor abound in this is a coming of age story that challenges what it means to be brothers, friends and lovers, and the painful price we all too often pay for our induction into adulthood.