“Where Sybaritic Cyber Seekers Find Themselves.” ™ ©
ARTE PUBLICO PRESS RIVERHEAD/PUTNAM-PENGUIN
"Himilce Novas seems capable of making miracles herself, resuscitating the by-now shop worn mode of magical realism and turning it to her own satirical purposes[...]With a recklessness that's really refreshing, the writer makes ferocious fun of a number of elements quite dear to Cuban life--love and destiny, the power of manhood, fidelity and betrayal, family and religion. Best of all, she never forgets her responsibility to tell a good, engrossing story, in this case a tale of nature and perversion, vision and blindness..."
"A disarming blend of magic realism and pungent social satire, this extraordinary debut novel is an incandescent tale of love, double incest, mistaken identity and immigrant dreams[...]her lyrical, fiercely intelligent novel, crammed with mystical phenomena and allusions to pop culture, adroitly probes the pressures facing immigrants adjusting to Yanqui realities."
"It is Novas' most impressive achievement that she has turned around what society would regard as two fundamental evils and made them into profound affirmations [...] Novas challenges notions of good and evil and shows the shadings that exist in most human actions. By doing so, she has lifted Mangos, Bananas and Coconuts to the level of myth--about the pain of separation and exile in the Cuban condition, the Latin condition and the human condition."
SCRIPPS-HOWARD NEWS SERVICE
"The novel is beautifully written, with mysterious underpinnings and mythic overtones."
"Mangos, Bananas and Coconuts satisfies the appetite."
THE WOMEN'S REVIEW OF BOOKS/VOL. XIII
"This book reads like the Clytemnestra story translated into a Cuban American context with a magic realist twist. Mangos, Bananas and Coconuts--tropical fruits that here become three popular sexist images of women--is a richly evocative novella [...]This is a man's book, even if it was written by a woman. All the most climactic scenes, whether of religious conversion or sexual conquest, are defined by large, thrusting male members and other such symbols of a culture feminists have come to distrust. Novas is much more satisfying when she describes what life is like for the female transplant in our Latin ghettos:
scared, too scared to really be connected to mundane things like plays or
school or friends at PS 155. What she accomplished she thought she did by
imitation, or maybe thanks to a sixth sense that ran her life on automatic
pilot. There was always a little tremor going on inside her, like the rumble of
Now that's writing that sings. Mangos, Bananas and Coconuts [...]is a book that's hard to put down [...]some scenes will haunt the reader long after she has turned the final page."
SANTA BARBARA NEWS-PRESS
"Himilce Novas' satiric Latin fable is sweet, dark and twisted by turn and only the "happily ever after" is what it used to be [...] [the novel] takes the tale of Tristan and Isolde, reshuffles its characters and thematic elements and turns the whole myth on its head by transforming it from a tragedy into an unsettling triumph of love [...] The wonderful part of "Mangos, Bananas and Coconuts" is Novas' forgiving grace that inspires tenderness, horror and amusement in the same breath. Her spritely style and sense of humor combine to make this a sweetly appealing novel that calls at every moment on uncommon emotional chords
“Dear Himilce: Lan Cao gave me your extraordinary book Mangos, Bananas and Coconuts.”
I read the whole book aloud to my husband. I love your poetic prose, your humor and your love for
your characters. It is such a joy to “discover” an author to cherish, recommend and follow!
Congratulations! Love, Isabel Allende.”
By Jessica English, Tracey L. Cooley, Devin O'Leary, Julie Birnbaum
Within the first paragraph of Mangos, Bananas and Coconuts, Himilce Novas explains that this is a Cuban love story about Esmeralda and Juan, twins separated at birth. Here that feverishly curious immoral side of me is piqued, and I already love this book. The irony is that Novas treats this taboo of a brother's love for his own sister as something pure and innocent, and even ideal, as each twin finds in the other the missing half. Esmeralda communicates with lizards and Morpho butterflies; Juan, a prominent architect, was raised as a rich exilado in Miami, and their father is a sweet yet twisted religious zealot. These characters are the groundwork for a satire about the separation of classes and the search for fulfillment in our society, but it is still an extraordinarily erotic love story. Novas' prose is dense--recommended to be consumed slowly and savored like poetry. (JE)
Mangos, Bananas and Coconuts: A Cuban Love Story: A Cuban Love Story
Publishers Weekly; Himilce Novas. Arte Publico (191p) ISBN 1-55885-092-9
disarming blend of magic realism and pungent social satire, this extraordinary
debut novel is an incandescent tale of love, double incest, mistaken identity
and immigrant dreams. In
PAPAYA weaves santeria, transgender identity, and the resistance
struggle in contemporary
A WELL-WROUGHT URN, A MASTERFULLY TOLD TALE THAT LEAVES EACH ONE TO PONDER A NEWLY-MINTED QUESTION: AM I MY BROTHER’S KEEPER?
December, 2004, 240 pages, Trade Paperback
ISBN 1-55885-436-3, $12.95
A thrilling novel intertwining one Cuban-American Jewish family’s personal tragedy with the contemporary struggle in Cuba
Roberto Lobo receives anonymous calls in the night. Voices whisper threats in his ear. His fear drives him to seek the help of Ideliza Mercado, Princess Papaya and Priestess of the Barrio. Roberto hopes Princess Papaya’s powerful knowledge of santería will end his torment. Hiding in the shadows is Ideliza and Roberto’s deaf-mute son, Bembé. Across the city, Victoria Lobo, a Jewish, Cuban-American poet, mourns the death of her husband, Francisco, until a chance meeting with Bembé brings her closer to her brother and the disappearance that has plagued her family for twenty years.
From this web of characters spins an intense story of desire and intrigue, forging the lives of Roberto and his sister, Victoria, Ideliza Mercado and her son, Bembé, and Cooper, a mysterious stranger who is more involved in their stories than they may guess. A unique cast of characters populate this rhapsodic, magically real tour de force: a hydrocephalic child with uncanny spiritual; a doctor whose greed precipitates a descent into his worst nightmares; a grieving poet struggling to regain her muse; and a man who fights to survive torture and the neglect of his family.
Taking us from the 9-11
This book devotes one chapter to
Himilce Novas’ novel, PRINCESS PAPAYA
AMAZON.COM: HOW DID YOU BEGIN WRITING? DID YOU INTEND TO BECOME AN AUTHOR, OR DO YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC REASON OR REASONS FOR WRITING EACH BOOK?
H.N. I BEGAN WRITING BECAUSE I WAS BORN THE YEAR OF THE MONKEY AND MONKEY SEE MONKEY DO--BOTH MY PARENTS WERE WRITERS. I DON'T THINK I EVER THOUGHT OF MYSELF AS ANYTHING OTHER THAN A WRITER (A POET FIRST, OF COURSE, AS POETRY IS THE ESSENCE OF ALL FICTION). SO, IN A SENSE IT WASN'T A CHOICE--JUST A KIND OF SPIRITUAL DETERMINISM. MY REASONS FOR WRITING A BOOK VARY.
I WRITE FICTION (MANGOS, BANANAS AND COCONUTS: A CUBAN LOVE STORY + PRINCESS PAPAYA & ONE IN THE WORKS, TWO NOVELS OUT NEXT YEAR ++SHORT STORIES ETC. PLUS NON-FICTION (EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LATINO HISTORY; EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ASIAN AMERICAN HISTORY; THE HISPANIC 100; REMEMBERING SELENA; SECADA! PASSPORT SPAIN; LATIN AMERICAN COOKING ACROSS THE USA, ETC).
THE DIFFERENCE: FICTION TELLS ME AND I TELL NON-FICTION.
AMAZON.COM: WHAT AUTHORS DO YOU LIKE TO READ? WHAT BOOK OR BOOKS HAVE HAD A STRONG INFLUENCE ON YOU OR YOUR WRITING?
H.N. I HAVE A PANTHEON OF AUTHORS WHO HAVE BEEN MY EARTHLY SPIRIT
GUIDES THROUGH THE YEARS--AND EACH YEAR THE
SO, AUTHORS: EDNA O'BRIEN, WILLIAM FAULKNER, LINO NOVAS CALVO, GUILLERMO CABRERA INFANTE, JD SALINGER, MARY BAKER EDDY, STEVE GUTTERMAN, DOROTHY ALLISON, WALT WHITMAN, WB YEATS, JOHN DONNE, SHAKESPEARE, THE TRANSLATORS OF THE KING JAMES BIBLE, TRUMAN CAPOTE, KEATS,VICTOR VILLASENOR, ANA CASTILLO, DANTE, PROUST, SALVATORE QUASIMODO, CAMILO JOSE CELA, ROSALIA DE CASTRO, GARCIA LORCA, GONGORA, JUAN RULFO, UNAMUNO, HARPER LEE, ME.
AMAZON.COM: COULD YOU DESCRIBE THE MUNDANE DETAILS OF WRITING: HOW MANY HOURS A DAY DO YOU DEVOTE TO WRITING? DO YOU WRITE A DRAFT ON PAPER OR AT A KEYBOARD (TYPEWRITER OR COMPUTER)? DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE LOCATION OR TIME OF DAY (OR NIGHT) FOR WRITING? WHAT DO YOU DO TO AVOID -- OR SEEK! -- DISTRACTIONS?
H.N. I WRITE STRAIGHT INTO THE COMPUTER AND I WRITE OFTEN BUT NOT ALWAYS THE SAME. MEANING: IN MY HEAD I'M WRITING ALL THE TIME BECAUSE I'M INTERPRETING AND REINTERPRETING PRESENT, PAST, FUTURE. WHEN I HAVE A SPECIFIC WORK IN MIND WHICH HAS UNDERGONE A PERIOD OF CONSCIOUS AND UNCONSCIOUS GESTATION, I TURN MY HAND TO THE KEYBOARD THE WAY A FARMER TURNS HER HAND TO THE PLOUGH.
CURRENTLY, I'VE FINISHED A NOVEL, PRINCESS PAPAYA, TO BE PUBLISHED IN 2004 AND AM WORKING ON TWO OTHERS WHICH WILL PROBABLY EMERGE WHOLE CIRCA 2005.
I SHOW UP FOR WORK UPON WAKING (AFTER CLEARING DAILY BIZ THINGS AND FINISHING WHATEVER TEACHING ASSIGNMENTS OR LECTURES) AND THEN JUST WRITE UNTIL I HAVE NO MORE TO SAY THAT DAY.
OF COURSE I TAKE BREAKS, WALK AROUND, GO TO LUNCH ETC, BUT TRY TO STAY CLOSE TO HOME BECAUSE IT'S HARD TO BE EXPOSED TO OUTSIDE STIMULI WHEN YOU'RE REELING FROM THE INWARD KIND. I USED TO BE A DAY PERSON, BUT LATELY FIND MYSELF WRITING INTO THE WEE HOURS AND ENJOYING THE SILENCE AND MY CAT’S EYES ON THE MONITOR (HER TREE).
AMAZON.COM: DO YOU MEET YOUR READERS AT BOOK SIGNINGS, CONVENTIONS OR SIMILAR EVENTS? DO YOU INTERACT WITH YOUR READERS ELECTRONICALLY THROUGH E-MAIL OR OTHER ON-LINE FORUMS?
H.N. YES YES YES AND YES.
AMAZON.COM: WHEN AND HOW DID YOU GET STARTED ON THE 'NET? ARE YOU ABLE TO COMMUNICATE WITH OTHER WRITERS OR PEOPLE YOU WORK WITH OVER THE 'NET?
H.N. GOT STARTED 25 YEARS AGO. LOVED IT. LOVE IT MORE NOW. I AM ACTUALLY AN ACCIDENTAL “WEBBY”AND HAVE BEGUN EXPERIMENTING WITH HYPERTEXT LITERATURE.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ASIAN AMERICAN HISTORY, by Himilce Novas, co- authored with Lan Cao (Plume/Penguin USA, 1996; 2003).
Book: Paperback | 5.31 x 8.03in | 432 pages | ISBN 0452284759 | Jul 2004 | Plume
A comprehensive guide to Asian-American history
One can hardly understand American history without knowing the crucial role people of Asian ancestry have played in shaping our past, politics, and culture. Exploding myths and stereotypes, with more than fifty pages of new material, this absorbing and accessible reference answers such questions as:
Where and when did the history of Chinese
· What is Zen?
· Why do Filipinos have Spanish names?
How did the
· What is the difference between Hindu and Hindi?
And much, much more.
In a lively question-and-answer format, Everything You Need to Know About Asian-American History
provides a complete understanding of the traditions and ideas that people of
Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Indian, and
Everything You Need To Know About Asian American History
Lan Cao, Himilce Novas
Finally, a primer on Asian
American history that anyone can read. The book covers
Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Southeast Asian, Ã§Korean, East Indian, and
Pacific Islander Americans. Their histories and cultures (sometimes pop
cultures) are explained in a question/answer format, addressing questions like
"What is Little
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ASIAN-AMERICAN HISTORY
By Lan Cao and Himilce Novas, Plume/Penguin Books; 355 pp.; $12.95.
Don't be deceived by the title's lighthearted tone. Authors Lan Cao and Himilce Novas were dead serious when they arrived at the name for their compilation of Asian American cultural miscellany. They would be well within their rights to tack on the phrase, "but were afraid to ask."
This surprisingly compact paperback is full of the expected historical facts and figures. But, besides being ideal reading for a crash course on Asian
The book is divided into sections focusing on Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Indian, Southeast Asian, and Asian Pacific Islander Americans, with sidebars such as "13 Asian American Women Who Made A Difference." As a sort of table of contents, all of the questions answered in a particular section (e.g. What is Kung Fu? What was Executive Order 9066? What are Cha Gio?) are listed at the beginning of each section, followed by a brief history of the respective ethnicity's immigration experience along with a
The short answers are informative and the questions, by and large, have been designed to broaden public awareness of peculiar ethnic characteristics and background. Despite their comprehensive and laudatory efforts, Cao and novas by no means intend this book to be taken as a definitive guide. They thoughtfully provide supplementary fiction and nonfiction reading lists as well as recommended movies, historical sites, and mini-biographies of Asian American notables.
Download/Listen to Internet Radio interview with Himilce Novas
about these topics and much more:
Debunking Latino myths and
learning about Latino culture and contribution to
Sexism in our culture and in the media
Click here and the audio will open automatically
without any need to click further:
Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute
... In the great book Everything You Need to Know About Latino History, by Himilce Novas,
there is a
list of “Nine Latinas who have made a difference”. ...
www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/ units/2000/4/00.04.08.x.html - 50k -