Thursday, September 11, 2014

Désirée Zamorano's Virtual Book Tour: Setting & The Amado Women

Book Puke is happy to be the next stop on Désirée Zamorano's virtual book tour! Today's post is about the influence of setting in Désirée's novel The Amado Women. Tomorrow, stop by HTML Giant!

Mercy Amado has raised three girls, protecting them from their cheating father by leaving him. But Mercy’s love can only reach so far when her children are adults, as Sylvia, Celeste, and Nataly must make their own choices to fight or succumb, leave or return, to love or pay penance. When tragedy strikes in Sylvia’s life, Mercy, Celeste, and Nataly gather support her, but their familial love may not be enough for them to remain close as the secrets in their histories surface. Forgiveness may not be accepted. Fiercely independent, intelligent, they are The Amado Women.

Images of The Gamble House - 
Masterwork of Greene & Greene, Jeanette Thomas, 
Univ. of So. Calif. 1989, ISBN 0-9622296-1-X
1. Pasadena, CA: The Arts and Crafts movement was the foundation for many of the beautiful homes in Pasadena.  Architects Greene and Greene were Pasadena brothers.  Sylvia Levine (Amado) had dreamed of living in a craftsman home, but her husband Jack insisted on turnkey.

2. A group of people settled in Pasadena to escape the treacherous winters of Indiana. The climate is fairly mild year round, about 60-70 F, making it, for them, an ideal place to live.
 3.  A recent tongue-in-cheek online article, based on housing prices, cultural events and number of private schools, listed Pasadena as the snobbiest mid-size town in the country. Sylvia’s children attend a private school.
4.  Balzac said, “Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.” The Huntington in Pasadena is a spectacular venue representing the railroad fortune of the Huntington family. Mercy Amado loves taking her granddaughters here, to visit Pinkie and Blue Boy, walk through the botanical gardens, or for a fancy high tea in the restaurant. 

5. Los Angeles, CA. Taken from the rooftop bar of Ace Hotel, downtown LA.  Los Angeles has beautiful old buildings in its downtown historic district.  Although Nataly Amado waits tables in a sleek and modern restaurant, Ace Hotel is somewhere she would have hung out with her friend and artist Yahaira, eyeing the men.

6. Demographics: Latinos comprise nearly 50% of the population of Los Angeles, home to Hollywood, yet fewer than 5% of all major film roles. In 1997, the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival was created to award filmmakers and discuss Latina/os in cinema.

7. Downtown LA’s art district and literary communities are exploding, from the artist’s lofts, residencies to the literary events.  Celeste Amado would have discovered investment opportunities, while Nataly might have cracked the gallery scene. 

Désirée Zamorano is Pushcart prize nominee, and award-winning short story author, Désirée has wrestled with culture, identity, and the invisibility of Latinas from early on, and addressed that in her commentaries, which have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and NPR’s Latino USA. She delights in the exploration of contemporary issues of injustice and inequity, via her mystery series featuring private investigator, Inez Leon (Lucky Bat Books). Human Cargo was Latinidad’s mystery pick of the year.
The Amado Women has been listed among 5 Must-Read Books for Summer 2014 by Remezcla, and has been named among Eleven Moving Beach Reads That’ll Have You Weeping in Your Pina Colada by Bustle. It was selected as the August 2014 Book of the Month for the Los Comadres & Friends National Latino Book Club.

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