|Narrated By:||Sandra Cisneros|
|Date:||13 March 2006|
Lala Reyes' grandmother is descended from a family of renowned rebozo, , or shawl-makers. The striped (caramelo) is the most beautiful of all, and the one that makes its way, like the family history it has come to represent, into Lala's possession. The novel opens with the Reyes' annual car trip, a caravan overflowing with children, laughter, and quarrels, from Chicago to the other side: Mexico City. It is there, each year, that Lala hears her family's stories, separating the truth from the healthy lies that have ricocheted from one generation to the next. We travel from the Mexico City that was the Paris of the New World to the music-filled streets of Chicago at the dawn of the Roaring Twenties, and finally, to Lala's own difficult adolescence in the not-quite-promised land of San Antonio, Texas.
Caramelo is a vital, wise, romantic tale of homelands, sometimes real, sometimes imagined. Vivid, funny, intimate, historical, it is a brilliant work destined to become a classic: a major new novel from one of our country's most beloved storytellers.
Cisneros's early life provided many experiences she would later draw on as a writer: she grew up as the only daughter in a family of six brothers, which often made her feel isolated, and the constant migration of her family between Mexico and the United States instilled in her the sense of "always straddling two countries ... but not belonging to either culture." Cisneros's work deals with the formation of Chicana identity, exploring the challenges of being caught between Mexican and Anglo-American cultures, facing the misogynist attitudes present in both these cultures, and experiencing poverty. For her insightful social critique and powerful prose style, Cisneros has achieved recognition far beyond Chicano and Latino communities, to the extent that The House on Mango Street has been translated worldwide and is taught in American classrooms as a coming-of-age novel.
Cisneros has held a variety of professional positions, working as a teacher, a counselor, a college recruiter, a poet-in-the-schools, and an arts administrator, and has maintained a strong commitment to community and literary causes. In 1998 she established the Macondo Writers Workshop, which provides socially conscious workshops for writers, and in 2000 she founded the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Foundation, which awards talented writers connected to Texas. Cisneros currently resides in San Antonio, Texas.