By Megan Harlan
June 23, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

In the Name of Salome


In the Name of Salome, a vivacious historical novel by Julia Alvarez (How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents) counterposes the voice of real-life revolutionary Salome Urena, the Dominican Republic’s ”national poet” who helped incite war against Spanish rule in the late 1800s, with that of her overshadowed daughter, Camila, a Vassar Spanish professor who’s long compromised her own literary ambitions. While Salome’s story — the shy woman braves publication, marries her nation’s president, and dies young — springs alive, Camila’s alternating saga, opening in 1960 as she retires to Castro’s Cuba, loses energy during its confusing nonlinear narrative. But Alvarez poignantly explores the interplay between personal and political revolutions — foolhardy, painful, and sometimes necessary. B+

In the Name of Salome

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