“Hypnotic… should not be missed.”—Lucy Stark, Voices from the Gaps
Originally published in Spanish under the title Maldito Amor (“Cursed Love”), Sweet Diamond Dust introduced American readers to a voice that is by turns lyrical and wickedly satiric. A finalist for the National Book Award with her 1995 novel, The House on the Lagoon, Ferre here uses family history as a metaphor for the class struggles and political evolution of Latin America and Puerto Rico in particular. The result is writing of the highest order—provocative, profound, yet delightfully readable.
The “sweet diamond dust” of the title story is, of course, sugar. In this tale the De La Valle family’s secrets, ambitions, and passions, interwoven with the fate of the local sugar mill, are recounted by various relatives, friends, and servants. As the characters struggle under the burden of privilege, the story, permeated with haunting echoes of Puerto Rico’s own turbulent history, becomes a splendid allegory for a nation’s past. The three accompanying stories each follow the lives of the descendants of the De La Valle family, making the book a drama in four parts, raising troubling issues of race, religion, freedom, and sex, with Ferre’s trademark irony and startling imagery—a literary experience no reader would want to miss.
About Rosario Ferre
Rosario Ferré nació en 1938 en Ponce, una ciudad en las costa sur de Puerto Rico. Se graduó en el año 1960 de Manjattanville College con un título en literature inglesa. Luego obtuvo una maestría en literature española y latinoamericana… More about Rosario Ferre
“Lyrically voices the generation-bridging tale of the De La Valle family and their Puerto Rican sugar mill through the eyes and souls of several family members, longtime servants and dear friends… With a majestic plot, nestled in the hills of those Guamani Mountains, along with the De La Valle family and their sugar mill, Ferré exposes the secrets of a family and the glories of a country under pressure from American business threats. All at once, Sweet Diamond Dust explores the life of a family and of a business, through the generations and into our modern world.”—Lucy Stark, Voices from the Gaps
“[Ferre] is a perfect embodiment of the Janus-like identity Puerto Rico emanates today, a mythical creature with two heads set back to back, impossibly ‘loyal to two fatherlands,’ as the memorialist Bernardo Vega once put it.”—Ilan Stavans, World Literature Today