DOMINICANA de Angie Cruz

From critically-acclaimed novelist Angie Cruz comes the story of a young woman forced into an arranged marriage who must make a choice between her heart and her duty to her family

by Angie Cruz
Flatiron Books, September 2019

Fifteen-year-old Ana Cancion never dreamed of moving to the United States, the way the girls she grew up with in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes to her and promises to take her with him to New York City, she has no choice but 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 the entire Cancion family to eventually immigrate. So Ana leaves behind the only life she has ever known and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife in a cold six-floor walk-up, watching the world unfold outside while her husband works several jobs and becomes increasingly controlling. 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 with Juan once he finds out she’s pregnant.
While Ana bides her time to leave Juan, the Dominican Republic slides further into political turmoil. Juan returns to Santo Domingo to protect his family’s assets, leaving Cesar to take care of Ana. Cesar shows her the beauty of the city—Radio City Music Hall, Coney Island, the World’s Fair—and Ana suddenly sees the possibility of a different, happy life forming. She takes secret English classes at the church down the street, links arms with protesters, feeds a lonely neighbor, and falls madly in love with Cesar. When Juan returns, Ana must decide once again between her heart and her duty to her family.

Angie Cruz is the author of two novels, Soledad and Let It Rain Coffee, a finalist in 2007 for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. She has published short fiction and essays in magazines and journals, including The New York Times, VQR, and Gulf Coast Literary Journal. She has received numerous grants and residencies including the New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship, Yaddo, and The Macdowell Colony. She is founder and Editor-in-Chief of Aster(ix), a literary and arts journal, and is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh.


I have been eagerly waiting for a new book from Angie Cruz. So glad the time has come. I can’t wait to see what this wonderful, nuanced, and insightful writer brings us next.”—Edwidge Danticat, author of Brother I’m Dying and Breath, Eyes, Memory

Gorgeous. What I most love about Angie Cruz’s writing is that she writes like a woman, with the heart cleft in two like an apple.”—Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street

Dominicana is beautiful, engaging, and cuts right to the heart of what it is to be a dutiful young female from a poor country who is bright in every sense of the word, full of love and hope. And who is also made to be the hope of her family.”—Mary Gaitskill, author of The Mare and Veronica

Angie Cruz is the reason I read. She writes with visionary force and in her fiction is enough beauty, wisdom, and, yes, truth-telling, to awaken the soul.”—Junot Diaz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Angie Cruz is a luminary, and Dominicana feels so right for this moment. The novel is lyrical, moving, and full of the nuance and complexity and richness of being bicultural, bilingual. But what I most admire about Cruz’s work is how she captures the texture and tenor of being an immigrant woman, caught between worlds and loyalties.”—Julia Alvarez, author of In The Time of The Butterflies

In each sharp, evocative scene, Angie Cruz shows how a moment in one country can reverberate for years in another. Dominicana is a fearless novel, laying bare the bewildering decisions made and revisited throughout the uncertain process of immigration and long after it ends.”—Idra Novey, author of Those Who Knew

An important novel that illuminates a world and time with truth and originality. Angie Cruz is a brilliant novelist and her characters are unforgettable.”—Jennifer Clement, author of Gun Love (2018 National Book Award Finalist) and President PEN International

Angie Cruz is a hero, a heartbreaker, and a visionary, who writes of the passions behind personal sacrifice and the raw contradictions of love with startling clarity and tenderness. Dominicana is a thrilling, necessary, and unforgettable portrait of what it means to be an immigrant in America.”—Patricia Engel, author of The Veins of The Ocean and Vida

Dominicana is a valentine to Angie Cruz’s mother, which chronicles the first year of a teenage immigrant’s life in Washington Heights as an unsung hero, who must overcome physical abuse and acclimate to a new country while preparing to give birth to her daughter. It will be appreciated by fans of Colm Toibin’s bestseller, Brooklyn.”—Emily Raboteau, author of The Professor’s Daughter and Searching for Zion 

Angie Cruz is the real thing. She writes with a rare combination of fierce passion and tender compassion for her unforgettable world.”—Cristina Garcia, author of Here in Berlin and Dreaming In Cuban

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