Ernesto Quiñonez

Cindy Seip

Ernesto Quiñonez was born in Ecuador, but arrived in New York City he was eighteen months old and was raised in El Barrio, East Harlem. He has written two previous novels Bodega Dreams and Chango’s Fire. Set in Spanish Harlem, Taina (Vintage ) tells the story of Julio, a young Puerto Rican-Ecuadorian boy who, after hearing that Taina, a fifteen-year-old girl from his church, is pregnant, decides to believe what she and her mother say: that she is a virgin. That sets in motion not only his questioning of his parents, his religion, and even the basic building blocks of modern science but also wading into a web of lies and petty crime. Taína is a sweeping tale that delivers a subtle yet poignant critique of Latino culture weaved in an absorbing, magical narrative. Julia Álvarez, author of In the Time of Butterflies, said “Latin American magical realism leaps over any borders and ends up in the barrio of Spanish Harlem. A love story, coming-of-age story, a mystery, a whodunit story, and ultimately a story of true love in the broadest sense.”