New Book: “The Taste of Sugar”


This month saw the publication of Marisel Vera’s The Taste of Sugar (Liveright, 2020). “Marisel Vera emerges as a major voice of contemporary fiction with a heart-wrenching novel set in Puerto Rico on the eve of the Spanish-American War.” Sara Martínez (Booklist) writes, “Tapping into her Puerto Rican heritage and conducting plenty of research, [Vera] presents a heartfelt depiction of once-proud coffee plantation hacendados (owners) in very difficult times. [. . .] Vera’s novel is historical fiction at its best, featuring engaging survivors from a forgotten past.” [The book was introduced earlier this evening by White Whale Bookstore:]

Description: It is 1898, and groups of starving Puerto Ricans, los hambrientos, roam the parched countryside and dusty towns begging for food. Under the yoke of Spanish oppression, the Caribbean island is forced to prepare to wage war with the United States. Up in the mountainous coffee region of Utuado, Vicente Vega and Valentina Sanchez labor to keep their small farm from the creditors. When the Spanish-American War and the great San Ciriaco Hurricane of 1899 bring devastating upheaval, the young couple is lured, along with thousands of other puertorriqueños, to the sugar plantations of Hawaii—another US territory—where they are confronted by the hollowness of America’s promises of prosperity. Writing in the tradition of great Latin American storytelling, Marisel Vera’s The Taste of Sugar is an unforgettable novel of love and endurance, and a timeless portrait of the reasons we leave home.

About the Author: A proud Boricua, Marisel Vera is the author of If I Bring You Roses, and the two-time winner of Willow Review’s fiction prize.

For more information, see

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s