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Latin Jazz

A Novel

Voices of the South

290 pages / 5.50 x 9.00 inches / no illustrations

Fiction

  Paperback / 9780807127902 / March 2002

Called “a striking debut . . . well crafted and sensitive” (Newsday), Latin Jazz blends Anglo and Hispanic tempos as it chronicles a Cuban émigré family’s hopes and sorrows in making a new home in Los Angeles. Men from three generations alternate in telling their family story, which culminates in the dramatic refugee boat lift from Mariel Harbor, Cuba, to Miami in 1980: Hugo, a political prisoner still trying to escape Cuba for America; his father, Esteban, settled almost twenty years in California but longing to return his wife’s ashes to their homeland; Angel, Esteban’s son-in-law, who dreams of bigger things than the ice-cream truck concession he operates in L.A.; and Angel’s son, Diego, who soothes a vague sense of unrootedness with cocaine, sex, and alcohol.

Exuding both bravura and pensiveness, Latin Jazz speaks insistently and clearly to the Cuban-American exile experience. 

Virgil Suárez emigrated with his family from Cuba to the United States at age eight. He is the author of novels, stories, poems, and essays, and the editor of several anthologies of Latino/a literature. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Tallahassee, where he is professor of creative writing at Florida State University.

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