When the Ground Turns in Its Sleep
By Sylvia Sellers-Garcia
(Riverhead Hardcover, Hardcover, 9781594489549, 336pp.)
Publication Date: December 27, 2007
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Nítido Amán knows he was born in Guatemala, but he doesn't know where, or why his family left. Raised in the United States by his immigrant parents, he never asked them about his homeland as a child-and they never talked about it. When Nítido loses his father to Alzheimer's disease, his despondent mother grows increasingly silent. Realizing that his only links to the past are disappearing, he travels to Guatemala, against his mother's wishes, to see what he can uncover for himself.
He arrives in the tiny town of Río Roto, where he suspects his family came from, prepared to ask questions, and perhaps find work teaching there. But when he is mistaken for the new local priest, Nítido decides to play the part, thinking that the confessional confidences of the townspeople will prove more fruitful than ordinary conversation in leading him to the answers he seeks. What he finds in Río Roto, though, is a place shrouded in silence and secrets, a place that can neither escape nor give voice to the unnamed horrors it has survived. Nítido is at once determined and frightened to unearth these horrors-even as they force him to reevaluate his own haunted past.
In elegant, hypnotic prose, Sylvia Sellers-García delivers a story of divergent cultures and divided identities, of conflicts between generations and civilizations, of mourning, and, finally, of healing. When the Ground Turns in Its Sleep marks her arrival as a distinctive and powerful new voice.