Classics Book Club

How the García Girls Lost Their Accents


Julia Alvarez

FROM THE BOOK JACKET: Acclaimed writer Julia Alvarez's beloved first novel gives voice to four sisters as they grow up in two cultures. The Garcia sisters—Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofia—and their family must flee their home in the Dominican Republic after their fathers role in an attempt to overthrow brutal dictator Rafael Trujillo is discovered. They arrive in New York City in 1960 to a life far removed from their existence in the Caribbean. In the wondrous but not always welcoming U.S.A., their parents try to hold on to their old ways as the girls try find new lives: by straightening their hair and wearing American fashions, and by forgetting their Spanish. For them, it is at once liberating and excruciating to be caught between the old world and the new. Here they tell their stories about being at home—and not at home—in America.

Julia AlvarezAUTHOR INFO: Julia Alvarez is a Dominican-American poet, novelist, and essayist. Born in New York of Dominican descent, she spent the first ten years of her childhood in the Dominican Republic, until her father's involvement in a political rebellion forced her family to flee the country.

Alvarez rose to prominence with the novels How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, In the Time of the Butterflies, and Yo!. Her publications as a poet include Homecoming and The Woman I Kept to Myself, and as an essayist the autobiographical compilation Something to Declare. Many literary critics regard her to be one of the most significant Latina writers and she has achieved critical and commercial success on an international scale.

Many of Alvarez's works are influenced by her experiences as a Dominican in the United States, and focus heavily on issues of assimilation and identity. Her cultural upbringing as both a Dominican and an American is evident in the combination of personal and political tone in her writing. She is known for works that examine cultural expectations of women both in the Dominican Republic and the United States, and for rigorous investigations of cultural stereotypes.


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