By Patricia Chao
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780060734183, 300pp.)
Publication Date: May 2006
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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.