Flor Hernández Barrios’ Candela: A Novel was published in September 2010. Hernández Barrios is also the author of The Mask of Oya (2006) and Blessed by Thunder: Memoir of a Cuban Childhood (1998).
Description: CANDELA. It’s the name Caridad hears called out at night. Candela. Her own nickname, “Fire,” for the fire that destroyed her family home at the time of her birth. But now Caridad is 48. Her marriage has fallen apart. Her career in pharmacy has hit a wall. And she’s haunted by her roots, literally. Though born in Cuba, she and her brother were raised in the US, in rural Washington State. Their entire Cuban family had tried to escape by sea, but had been wiped out by the Cuban Coast Guard. The brother remembers. But Caridad has to re-discover it all. Including her own sexuality. When Chachi, an exciting Cuban lesbian, turns up in Caridad’s life, everything she has always assumed is up for grabs. And the constant undercurrent, the constant drumbeat, is the voice calling to her from thin air, “Candela.” It’s her own mysterious spiritual life coming to the fore, a life that stretches from the Native American guardians of her childhood, to the exotic rituals of the Afro-Cuban religion, Lukumi. Her birth right. For Caridad to finally confront being Cuban, she must return to Cuba to embrace her past and throw open the doors to a new future. It’s a story of truth, love, and absolute courage.
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