By Patricia Chao
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780060734183, 320pp.)
Publication Date: May 2006
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
When Catalina Ortiz Midori walks into a shabby New York dance studio for her first mambo class, she has no idea her life is about to change. A Japanese-Cuban immigrant who has lost touch with her Cuban roots, Catalina is mesmerized by the one-eyed teacher, El Tuerto, a titan of the New York mambo scene, and drawn to the dazzling technique of Wendy Cardoza, a Bronx mambera who is one of its reigning queens. Catalina's apprenticeship with them, and her growing obsession with the world of mambo -- the music, the dancers, the seductive dance itself -- will bring her back to her origins with a passion she didn't know she possessed, and inadvertently draw her into a sinister Miami exile scheme through her disreputable cousin Guillermo.
Patricia Chao reviews Latin dance music for Global Rhythm magazine and is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Monkey King. She is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship as well as the New Voice Award for Poetry. She danced mambo with the performance troupe Casa de la Salsa, and lives in New York City.
“This sensuous and sometimes violent tale is filled with sexy foot-stomping scenes—and an assassination plot to boot.”
-Good Housekeeping (Book Babe selection)
“An entertaining, sometimes intoxicating read. Like the passionate dancers she portrays, Chao writes with heart and soul.”
“Compelling... Intense passion, energy, and sexuality... The pace accelerates and becomes relentless... Recommended for all collections.”
“A floor-scorching spin...This high-voltage novel will have readers furiously flipping pages and tapping their toes.”
-Booklist (starred review)
“Chao induces the reader to feel the intensity of her characters’ pleasure in dancing . . . Deeply interesting.”
“Highly talented . . . [Chao] cleverly steps up the narrative like an ever-increasing tempo.”
“Fast-paced . . . always quite clever and often graceful .”
-San Antonio Express-News