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Nonfictional fiction When art mirror.1 thi.J famiLy'cJ Life, the re.1uLt.1 can be me.1.1y ... ... c: C 0 V E R T 0 C 0 V E R F iction writers are supposed to write about what they know, but how much of wh at they know should be put down on paper? In Ju lia Alvarez's iYol, writer Yolanda Garcia-whose nickname gives the novel its title- pens a fi ctionalized account of her family. To the family's chagrin, Yo includes intimate details of their lives. Yo's mother threatens to sue her. Two of her three sisters won't speak to her, and one of them, who is pregnant, for- 3 . .. ., ::=3 .... ! ---.:::::j ••• •J ::::] t bids anyone to tell Yo about it, for fear that her baby will also be "fic- tionally victimized." " She has this who le spiel about art and li fe mir- roring eac h other a nd how you've got to write about what you know," one sister tells a- nother after see- ing Yo on televi- s ion . "I couldn't li sten to it; it was ma king me sick." The sister who still talks to Yo describes her efforts to console the outcast while dealing with h er own feelings of b etrayal: "'Hey,' I say, putting the best face on this I\U 1Hor 01 HOJ.I THr Ulll{/!l rJ!W LOfT Tlwt A(((I/Tf AWP messy situation, 'I _ /!1 THr Tir'!r Of T/1( $UTTrlfl!(f -'3 b et there were a lot of people mad iYo! By JuLia A Lvar ez G'75 350 pp. A(qonquin BoolcJ. $18.95 at Shakespeare, but are n 't we all g lad he wrote Hamlet? ... But still,' I go on, getting everyo ne 's point of view in, 'imagine how you'd feel if you were his mother. "' i Yo! is Alvarez's third novel. New,/day call ed the 1975 g raduate of The College of Arts a nd Sciences "the foremost c hronicl er of the Dominican immigrant." Her seco nd novel, In the Tinu of d1e But- tetf!iu - a fi ctionalized portrait of the martyred Mirabal s isters of the Do- minican R ep ubli c- was named a 1995 Best Book by the American Library 6 SYRA CUSE UN IVERSI TY MAGA Z INE Association. Her first, Ho w the Garda Gir!.J Their AccentJ, won the PEN Oakland/ Josephine Miles Award for li t- erary excellence in books that reflect a multicultural view. The novel recounts the flight of the Garda family from the brutal di ctatorship of Raphael Trujillo, known as EL Jefe . Alvarez shifts narration among family members who, in reverse chronological order, tell how they adjust- ed to their new lives in New York City. In ;Yo!, a sequel to Garcia Gir!..:J, Alva- rez uses t he same shifting perspective. Here the narrators are Yo's family, friends, a nd acquaintances, the people w ho provided the fodder for her novel. Each speaks his or her mind - sisters, mother, father, cousin, former lover, teacher, student, even a stalker-and together their stories bring Yolanda Garda into focus. The only character who is not permitted to speak in the first person is Yo. In 1 Yo!, as in Garda Giri..:J before it, Al- varez writes about w hat she knows. Her family emigrated to New York in 1960, fleeing EL Je(e'.J regime. Yo teaches writ- ing at a small New Engl and college; Al varez is an Engli sh professor at Mid- dlebur y Co ll ege in Vermont. And Yo's novel sounds a lot like Alvarez's own Garcia Giri..:J . Interestingly, Alvarez c hose the Spanish word for 'T' as her charac- ter's nickname. As a you ng girl in the Dominican R ep ublic, Alvarez found a gun hidden in her father's closet. Unaware of the d an- ger to h er family - h er father had ties to the underground opposing Trujillo - she spoke about the gun in school. When h er parents learned what she had done, they reacted in fear and anger, severe ly pun- ishing her. iYol contains a s imilar scene, shown first from Yo's mother's perspec- tive, then from h er father 's. Frightened by the possibili ty of arrest, Yo's father beats her, telling her, "You must ne ver ever te ll stories!" Yet it is the father who gives his bless- ing to Yo 's book: "We left everything be hind a nd forgot so much .... My grand- c hildren a nd gr eat-gra ndc hildren will not know the way back unl ess th ey h ave a story. Te ll them of our journey. Te ll th em the secret h eart of your fat h er and undo the old wrong. My Yo, e mbrace your dutino .. .. " - GARY PALLASS!NO 1 Pallassino: Cover to Cover Published by SURFACE, 1996

Cover to Cover: Nonfictional Fiction

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Page 1: Cover to Cover: Nonfictional Fiction

Nonfictional fiction When art mirror.1 thi.J famiLy'cJ Life, the re.1uLt.1 can be me.1.1y

...... c:

C 0 V E R T 0 C 0 V E R

F iction writers are supposed to write about what they know, but how much of w hat they know should be put down on paper?

In Julia Alvarez's iYol, writer Yolanda Garcia-whose nickname gives the novel its title-pens a fictionalized account of her family. To the family's chagrin, Yo includes intimate details of their lives.

Yo's mother threatens to sue her. Two of her three sisters won't speak to her, and one of them, who is pregnant, for­

3 ... .,

::=3 .... !

~ ---.:::::j

•••• • J

::::]

t

bids anyone to tell Yo about it, for fear that her baby will also be "fic­tionally victimized."

"She has this whole spiel about art and life mir­roring each other and how you've got to write about what you know," one sister tells a­nother after see­ing Yo on televi­sion. "I couldn't listen to it; it was making me sick."

The sister who still talks to Yo describes her efforts to console the outcast while dealing with her own feelings of betrayal: "'Hey,' I say, putting the best face on this

I\U1Hor 01 HOJ.I THr Ulll{/!l rJ!W LOfT Tlwt A(((I/Tf AWP messy situation, 'I _ /!1 THr Tir'!r Of T/1( $UTTrlfl!(f -'3 bet there were a =---------------------~...;·;:.:.::: lot of people mad

iYo! By JuLia ALvarez G'75 350 pp. A(qonquin BoolcJ. $18.95

at Shakespeare, but aren 't we all glad he wrote Hamlet? ... But still,' I go on, getting everyone's point of view in, 'imagine how you'd feel if you were his mother. "'

i Yo! is Alvarez's third novel. New,/day called the 1975 graduate of The College of Arts and Sciences "the foremost chronicler of the Dominican immigrant." H er second novel, In the Tinu of d1e But­tetf!iu - a fictionalized portrait of the martyred Mirabal sisters of the Do­minican Republic-was named a 1995 Best Book by the American Library

6

SYRA CUSE UN I V E RS ITY MAGA Z INE

Association. Her first, How the Garda Gir!.J Lo.:~t Their AccentJ, won the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award for lit­erary excellence in books that reflect a multicultural view. The novel recounts the flight of the Garda family from the brutal dictatorship of Raphael Trujillo, known as EL Jefe. Alvarez shifts narration among family members who, in reverse chronological order, tell how they adjust­ed to their new lives in New York City.

In ;Yo!, a sequel to Garcia Gir!..:J, Alva­rez uses the same shifting perspective. Here the narrators are Yo's family, friends, and acquaintances, the people w ho provided the fodder for her novel. Each speaks his or her mind - sisters, mother, father, cousin, former lover, teacher, student, even a stalker-and together their stories bring Yolanda Garda into focus. The only character who is not permitted to speak in the first person is Yo.

In 1 Yo!, as in Garda Giri..:J before it, Al­varez writes about w hat she knows. Her family emigrated to New York in 1960, fleeing EL Je(e'.J regime. Yo teaches writ­ing at a small New England college; Alvarez is an English professor at Mid­dlebury College in Vermont. And Yo's novel sounds a lot like Alvarez's own Garcia Giri..:J. Interestingly, Alvarez chose the Spanish word for 'T' as her charac­ter's nickname.

As a young girl in the Dominican Republic, Alvarez found a gun hidden in her father's closet. Unaware of the dan­ger to her family - her father had ties to the underground opposing Trujillo - she spoke about the gun in school. When her parents learned what she had done, they reacted in fear and anger, severely pun­ishing her. iYol contains a similar scene, shown first from Yo's mother's perspec­tive, then from her father's. Frightened by the possibility of arrest, Yo's father beats her, telling her, "You must never ever tell stories!"

Yet it is the father who gives his bless­ing to Yo's book: "We left everything behind and forgot so much .... My grand­children and great-grandchildren will not know the way back unless they have a story. Tell them of our journey. Tell them the secret heart of your father and undo the old wrong. My Yo, embrace your dutino .. .. "

- GARY PALLASS!NO

1

Pallassino: Cover to Cover

Published by SURFACE, 1996

Page 2: Cover to Cover: Nonfictional Fiction

Winslow Homer in the Adirondacks By Da"/2 Tatham G'70 158 pp. Syracwe Unir,erdity Predd. $45

Winner of the 1996 John Ben Snow Prize, this stunning visual and written account of paintings Homer created dur­ing his years in the Adirondack region is a must-read for any Homer enthusiast. The author examines the influence of Darwinian thought and concepts of landscape and wilderness through the artist's work.

A Single Shot By Matthew F Jone.J G'80 248 pp. Farra1; Straud and Girou._,;. $22

If you killed someone by accident, what would you do? How far would you go for a second chance at life? This is the dilemma of John Moon, a back­woods poacher who accidentally shoots a runaway girl during a hunting excur­sion on a state preserve. This novel is a compelling and readable story of one man's struggle with enormous guilt and his inability to succeed in a world deter­mined to make him fail.

Silver Thorns By Amanda Harte '70 586 pp. Pinnacle. $4.99

A historical romance novel set in medieval France during the time of Richard the Lionheart, SiLPer Thor/Zd weaves the tale of a powerful knight and his betrothed, an innocent healer.

Soaring with the Schweizers: The Fifty-Year History of Their Aviation Adventures By WiLLiam Schweizer '41 241 pp. RiPiLo Bookd. $24.95

One of three brothers who founded the Schweizer Aircraft Company, WJliam Schweizer chronicles the transformation of the family business from a small but essential manufacturer of gliders and sail planes to a production company for tur­bine helicopters. Aviation aficionados will enjoy this historic and informative account of a lifetime in the sky.

Audrey Hepburn's Neck By ALan Brown '72 290 pp. Pocket Bookd. $21

Toshi Okamoto, a 23-year-old comic illustrator living in Tokyo, has been fas­cinated by all things Am!'!rican ever since his mother took him as a boy to see the film Roman HoLway starring Audrey Hepburn. This book details how Oka­moto and his circle of American friends travel through life in search of their own identities amid the culture clash be­tween expanding commercial America and traditional Tokyo.

City Lights: Urban-Suburban Life in the Global Society By E. Barbara Phi!Lipd G'69, G'75 eta!. 592 pp. Oxford Univerdti:y Predd. $59.95

The second edition of this successful urban studies text has been fully updated to highlight issues facing cities in an ever­changing global society. Skillfully blend­ing perspectives from the social sciences with insights from the visual arts and humanities, this lively and imaginative book provides a comprehensive intro­duction to cities and how they work.

Book.1 for Younger Reader.!

I'm a Girl! By LiLa Juke.J; JLwtrated /;y Sudan Keeter '85 50 pp. CooL Ki2<1 Pre.Jd. $15.95

An important book for every child of the nineties, I'm a GirL! explores the strength, courage, power, and indepen­dence of young girls. Children will rec­ognize these features in themselves as they read about the characters affirming their own value in daily life.

7

Wi N TER 1996/97

Dog People: Native Dog Stories By Jodeph Bruchac G'66 65 pp. FuLcrum K/2<1. $14.95

Find out what happens to Cedar Girl and her dog, Azeban, when they try to outwit a stranger. Meet Muskrat and his dog, Kwaniwibid, who cannot resist fol­lowing bear tracks deep into the woods. In Dog PeopLe, a great Abenaki storyteller takes the reader back 10,000 years to the days when Native American chil­dren and their dogs used their wits to survive the dangers of the natural world.

Drew and the Bub Daddy Showdown By Ro66 Arnutrong '85 87 pp. HarperCoLLi11.1 Pu6Li:lherd. $15.89

Cartoonist Robb Armstrong takes his writing and illustration talents in a new direction with this novel for children in grades two to five. In this book, young Drew Taylor creates comic books that have his whole school talking. He's got friends, money, and two bullies after him. He also has an older brother who has a secret he'll do anything to hide. Want to know more? Read the book.

Mr. Lincoln's Whiskers By Karen B. Wtiuuck '68 52 pp. Boydd MiL& Pre.Jd. $15.95

Abraham Lincoln was the first presi­dent of the United States to sport a beard. What gave him the idea to grow whiskers may have been a letter from an 11-year-old girl named Grace Bedell. Illustrated with oil paintings that cap­ture the look and feel of 19th-century America, this book tells the true story of a little girl who changed the face of an American president.

2

Syracuse University Magazine, Vol. 13, Iss. 2 [1996], Art. 3

https://surface.syr.edu/sumagazine/vol13/iss2/3