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Publisher's Summary

One of Esquire Magazine's 2019 Best Books of the Year

A Good Morning America Cover to Cover Book Club Pick

This program includes a bonus conversation with the author.

Named a Most Anticipated Book by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Washington Post, O Magazine, Time, Real Simple, Chicago Review of Books, Kirkus Reviews, Nylon, BuzzFeed, Lit Hub, The Millions, InStyle, Bustle, Refinery29, Hello Giggles, AARP, Domino

"Coral Pena's strong delivery is a breath of fresh air...a master of accents and emotion, bringing genuine pathos to the story." (AudioFile Magazine, Earphones Award winner)

Fifteen-year-old Ana Cancion never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up with in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she has to say yes. It doesn’t matter that he is twice her age, that there is no love between them. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So on New Year’s Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. But at the bus terminal, she is stopped by Cesar, Juan’s free-spirited younger brother, who convinces her to stay.

As the Dominican Republic slides into political turmoil, Juan returns to protect his family’s assets, leaving Cesar to take care of Ana. Suddenly, Ana is free to take English lessons at a local church, lie on the beach at Coney Island, see a movie at Radio City Music Hall, go dancing with Cesar, and imagine the possibility of a different kind of life in America. When Juan returns, Ana must decide once again between her heart and her duty to her family.

In bright, musical prose that reflects the energy of New York City, Angie Cruz's Dominicana is a vital portrait of the immigrant experience and the timeless coming-of-age story of a young woman finding her voice in the world.

Praise for Dominicana:

"Through a novel with so much depth, beauty, and grace, we, like Ana, are forever changed." (Jacqueline Woodson, Vanity Fair)

"Gorgeous writing, gorgeous story." (Sandra Cisneros)

©2019 Angie Cruz (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Coral Pena's strong delivery is a breath of fresh air - her depiction of Ana blends confidence and naïveté as the protagonist makes her way from her home in the Dominican Republic to New York, from a simple life to a complicated one. Pena is a master of accents and emotion, bringing genuine pathos to the story. At times, her pace quickens precipitously, but the overall impact of her elegant narrative is appealing." (AudioFile Earphone Award)

"Lovely... Compelling... An intimate portrait of the transactional nature of marriage and the economics of both womanhood and citizenship, one all too familiar to many first-generation Americans." (The New York Times Book Review

"Through a novel with so much depth, beauty, and grace, we, like Ana, are forever changed." (Jacqueline Woodson, Vanity Fair)

What listeners say about Dominicana

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Dominicans in literature

As a Dominican American I relate to this book in so many ways. Fortunately, I was given the freedom of choice. Choice of a career, a choice of my life, a choice for love. Thank you Angie for writing this beautiful story. Many thanks to your mother for allowing you to share her story. I would actually love a sequel if this novel and find out how Ana Ruiz Canción evolves.

9 people found this helpful

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Impressive first effort. Enjoyable.

The Dominican experience I know first hand. The writer clearly lived and shares the Dominican female experience. Timely novel at an auspicious time when we are trying to understand the me too world. One annoying issue is the performance a Dominican voice coach should have been used to authenticate the audible experience. Valiant effort. Awaiting more from this author.

8 people found this helpful

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Great listen

Really enjoyed listening to the book and the author's interview at the end. A mispronunciation here and there by the reader. FYI, abuse triggers during the book.

6 people found this helpful

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Thank you!!!

Thank you for making this amazing book. It made me question a few things in my family and to realize that most of my aunts went through that.. Thank you for showing people the true and not have drugs or gangs represent Dominicans but for showing that our parents did everything for a honest living..

4 people found this helpful

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Vivid Immigrant Experience

This book was excellent! The true story about the Dominican immigrant experience is described so accurately. I feel like the characters were people I knew as a kid. As a daughter of Dominican immigrants that arrived around late 60s/early 70s, it makes me appreciate the sacrifices they made so people like this author and myself have opportunities they didn't.

3 people found this helpful

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Love It!!

This book was one of my faves! I love the story and I even learned a couple of things about the Domincan culture that I never knew.

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Dominicans and their roots

A must read story about a coming of age, the Dominican culture and the life in the 60s in Washington Heights. Truly enjoyed it. I hope there is a part 2, I would want to know the future of Ana and what happened with Cesar. Or maybe even a book about Cesar as the main character.

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Most read

Love dominicana. Angie writing was very details and it transports you to the middle of the story. Love it

Thank you Angie can’t wait for the next book

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Great story. Not so great narrator.

I loved the story so much!! But it’s a shame that the narrator didn’t know how to pronounce some of the Dominican words. Made it feel so much less authentic. Like if you can’t pronounce güira and colmado you probably shouldn’t be narrating a Dominican story.

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Good Book

The book is good, however, the end seemed rushed. I wanted more. I think she could write at least one more book exploring the other characters.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-13-20

Incredible

After spending a year teaching in DR I was fascinated by this book. It evoked the most incredible memories and really represents so many families.

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  • bookylady
  • 05-16-20

Something different. An enjoyable listen.

I read this because it has been shortlisted for the 2020 Women's Prize and it did not disappoint. There are many stories of the lives of immigrants in New York City but this one is slightly different because it deals with the lives of Dominicans, a population which has, to my knowledge, not been well covered in western literature.
Ana is a very young woman, a teenager in fact, when she marries Juan Ruiz, a fellow Dominican and twice her age. Juan is a resident in NYC and part of a very ambitious group of brothers who intend to make their mark both the USA and in their own country. Ana's family sell some of their land to the Ruiz family in exchange for marriage to Ana which they believe will eventually allow them to immigrate to the USA and have better life opportunities.
Ana's mother advises her to keep her husband happy with food and sex but to make demands of him too, for clothes, for material possessions, for money which she can send home to her family. Ana finds herself in a strange new world where she has to negotiate not just a new life, but Juan's stifling expectations of her - no school, no job, no friends, just keeping house and cooking for him.
Along the way she comes to terms with Juan's mistress, the threat and actuality of physical violence against her and his way of life which borders on criminality. She learns to look after herself, to survive and improve her lot in small ways by deceiving Juan, gradually earning some money of her own, learning English and making friends. She also falls in love with Juan's brother and starts a business with him as preparation for a new life. But tragedy and betrayal lurk around every corner, both in Dominica and in NYC and Ana's family experience loss in more than one sense. The story culminates in a perfect storm of events which changes Ana's life and personal relationships forever.
Set against the background of mid 1960s civil rights demonstrations and atrocities against immigrants this is a deeply satisfying story of one family trying to better itself whilst getting into bed with people who dodge and dive and become tragically involved with Dominican politics.
The narration is good and gives colour to an intriguing story.

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  • Mrs R
  • 03-16-20

Atmospheric insight

Wonderful narration of a great book. I gained an insight into migration, New York, Dominica and lives of these great characters. Loved it and the narration is really first class.