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Book Public: ‘Vanishing Maps’ by Cristina García

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Cristina Garcia
Cristina García

Vanishing Maps is a follow up to Cristina García’s acclaimed first novel, Dreaming in Cuban. We meet again the del Pino family— this time, 20 years after Celia met something of an ambiguous end, when she seems to be walking into the ocean.

Her children and grandchildren are scattered and making their lives all over the world. The novel moves us from Cuba to Los Angeles to Berlin and Moscow. As the title of the novel suggests, the maps become unnecessary as characters continue to battle for a sense of identity and of place.

Ivanito is in Berlin. He has a gift for languages and also for recreating himself, somehow making himself invisible to give voice to someone else. He carries the idea of the terrors his mother felt of being erased. Pilar is adrift in Los Angeles struggling to find some success or create some kind of livelihood as a sculptor and the single mother of a young son. In Moscow, Ivanito’s cousin Irina has become the wealthy owner of a lingerie company, but she remains alone–and deeply lonely– in the wake of her parents’ deaths and her estrangement from her Cuban heritage. Celia–back in Havana, is about to reunite with her lost lover, Gustavo. What can getting older and so much time apart have done to diminish their bond?

The novel covers a momentous year in the lives of these family members and their constant search for home and the sometimes-fragile bonds we have with those we love the most.

Yvette Benavides can be reached at bookpublic@tpr.org.