The Divine Husband
Francisco Goldman, 2004
The Divine Husband tells the story of Maria de las Nieves Moran, daughter of an Irish-American father and a Central American mother, whose brief career as a nun is terminated when a rapacious general closes the convents—in part to reach her beautiful, aristocratic best friend Paquita, hidden away from him in the cloister.
Maria de las Nieves makes her own way in the secular world, surrounded by an unforgettable cast of characters striving for love or success in late-nineteenth-century Central America and New York: Jose Marti, the poet and hero of nineteenth-century Cuban independence and the first man Maria de las Nieves loves; Mack Chinchilla, the Yankee-Indio entrepreneur intent on winning her hand; a stuffy British diplomat setting up a political impostor plot; and Mathilde, the daughter whose birth—perhaps fathered by one of these men—ruins María de las Nieves’s reputation and launches her on a journey to a new future in New York.
This is a joyfully imagined novel of ideas and a broad, beautifully achieved canvas populated by sassily adorable Indian girls, wandering Jewish coffee farmers, the founder of the rubber-balloon industry, and one of Latin America’s greatest and most complex men, of whom it paints an unprecedented and rich portrait. The Divine Husband is an extraordinarily inventive, poetic engagement with the meaning of literature and the writing of history. It is a rich, thrilling accomplishment that is destined to be a literary event. (From the publisher.)
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