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Eccentric Neighborhoods

Sprawling family homes set on a verdant island, Bentleys, Bulovas, and aunts with ”long, Elizabeth Ardened nails” make up the Puerto Rican heritage of Eccentric Neighborhoods‘ heroine, the daughter of two formidable dynasties who catalogs her family’s successes and failures against a background of contemporary island history. The stories begin in Cuba, Guadeloupe, and France as well as Puerto Rico, but play themselves out anywhere from a Moorish palace in Rabat, Morocco, to a convent in Chicago. Unfortunately, so many yarns are spun out of Ferre’s colorful characters that the narrative’s texture remains gossamer thin. B-

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