Micheline Aharonian Marcom discusses her new novel, The New Americans, with Sara Campos.
Select praise for Micheline Aharonian Marcom
“The fierce beauty of her prose both confronts readers with many breathtaking cruelties and carries us past them.”The New York Times
“Powerful…Marcom’s writing is intensely poetic.”Washington Post
“Lyrical…Marcom is so talented."Chicago Tribune
"Dazzling and disquieting."Los Angeles Times
"Marcom's seamless, ethereal prose is suffused with raw emotion; there is heart-break on every page, but also hope."San Francisco Chronicle
About The New American
In this timely and emotionally powerful novel, award-winning author Micheline A. Marcom recounts the epic journey of a young Guatemalan-American college student, a “dreamer,” who gets deported and decides to make his way back home to California.
Emilio believes he is living the American Dream: his parents, who emigrated from Guatemala to California, sacrifice daily to ensure it. And his life seems relatively normal until he turns sixteen. Like most teenagers, Emilio is determined to get his driver’s license—however, his mother discourages it. When Emilio asks why, his parents reveal a shocking secret: he is undocumented.
Emilio adjusts to his new normal. He attends UC Berkeley. He falls in love. All is going well…until Emilio gets into a car accident and—without a driver’s license or any documentation—the policeman on the scene reports him to Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE].
Emilio is deported to Guatemala. But he is determined to get back to California, the only home he has ever known. It is an epic journey that takes him across thousands of miles through remote towns, lush jungles, and eventually the Sonoran Desert of the US-Mexico border, meeting thieves and corrupt law enforcement but also kind strangers and new friends.
Inspired in part by interviews with Central American refugees, and told in lyrical prose, Micheline A. Marcom weaves a heart-pounding and heartbreaking tale of adventure. The New American is an important and well-timed novel that asks us what we have in common—across cultures, experiences, and borders—and what makes us not only American, but altogether human.
The epic journey of a young Guatemalan American college student, a “dreamer,” who gets deported and decides to make his way back home to California.
One day, Emilio learns a shocking secret: he is undocumented. His parents, who emigrated from Guatemala to California, had never told him.
Emilio slowly adjusts to his new normal.
Micheline Marcom describes her newest novel, "A Brief History of Yes"--her first since 2008's scathing and erotic "The Mirror in the Well"--as a "literary fado," referring to a style of Portuguese music that, akin to the American blues, is often melancholic and soulful, and encapsulates the feeling of "saudade"--meaning, loosely, yearning and nostalgia for something or someone irreparably lost.