Cover Image: Neruda on the Park

Neruda on the Park

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I love books with strongs themes surrounding gentrification. I enjoyed this nicely crafted book! It raises many questions and would be an ideal choice for a book club as well as personal reading. Thanks to Penguin Random House for alloing me to be an early reader in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

A mesmerizing account of a community impacted by gentrification, and policies that disproportionately impact immigrant communities in ways that challenge upward mobility, access & inclusion. It’s a story about family, friendship, identity and making your own way in the world.

Was this review helpful?

This book was much more than I expected. A book that is so poignant for what is going on in the world and how it is effecting the people in it. While I don't live in an area where I am trying to be forced out of my home, I have family who are in areas where it could soon be coming. I was able to relate to both Luz and Eusebia in how they approached the issue in their own way.

But additionally, I could fully relate to Luz and her need/obligation to do what her parents thought was best for her. While my mother has never said the things that Eusebia said to Luz, doing better than most and working hard was something that was just expected of me. And I have had the same struggles as Luz deciding if my prestigious job is what I really want to do.

This was such a great book, everyone should read it.

Was this review helpful?

Nothing about this book went where I expected it to, but I ended up really enjoying it. The author is great at creating a strong sense of place, and I enjoyed the multi POV. It was just very well done!

The middle of the book dragged a bit, and the ending turned a little cheesy to me. But overall, the themes, characters, and general atmosphere had me hooked.

Recommended for literary fiction readers and fans of family dramas/stories of finding your path.

Was this review helpful?

I love that this story is not just about a family, but about the community. It is such a richer experience that the entire world is brought in to describe this family.

Was this review helpful?

I enjoyed reading this book it was an interesting journey to follow with the family members and the different paths they took. It got me thinking about how and what our parents want of us sometimes is not what we want for ourselves.

Was this review helpful?

I unfortunately never got through this book. I enjoyed it but never enough to just sit and keep reading.

Was this review helpful?

I liked this one. I enjoyed the dual perspectives, going back and forth between Luz and her mother, Eusebia. I have to say that I liked reading Luz's sections more, but that could be a generational thing - while I'm in between their two ages, I'm closer to Luz's age, and I more related to her life than her mom's. However, Eusebia's perspective gave a unique picture into what it is like for people who have their homes removed from them because of gentrification - the particular feeling of living in a place for years and years, it's your family, your home, your neighborhood, your friends, and all of these things are taken from you. This is something I've never experienced and likely will never experience, so I appreciated Natera giving me that point of view through Eusebia's eyes. There were a few plot points in the book that distracted from the crux of the story, and I didn't ever feel like I HAD to keep reading it, but overall it was an enjoyable novel with an important story to tell.

Was this review helpful?

A wonderful debut that follows the Guerreros as they each handle the gentrification of their neighborhood differently. Vladimir wants to return to the Dominican Republic. Eusebia has dangerous plans in mind to stop construction and their daughter, Luz happens to fall for the developer.
.
This is a story of sacrifice, love and what home means to many different people.
.
Thank you #randomhouse and #NetGalley for an Advanced copy in exchange for an honest Review

Was this review helpful?

I found this storyline to be a little quirky. I enjoyed the family and felt for their fight to save their home and neighborhood. There are a lot of good teachings in this book, about life, love, being a woman, and the pursuit of happiness and I really liked all of these.

It isn't until the end of the we learn the why behind the quirky behaviors, I'm not into spoiling a book for readers but I can tell you that this was quite a revelation that made me put down the book for a while in order to digest the information.

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine, Ballantine Books for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Sometimes family dramas really work for me and sometimes they don’t. Unfortunately, this one just wasn’t for me, though I think many people will find value in it!

Was this review helpful?

Many thanks to NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for my feedback. I really wanted to love this book and it was a solid debut, but ultimately I just didn’t connect with the story or the characters.

Was this review helpful?

I enjoyed this book. It definately showed how a community can work together to get things done. It also shows how a fmaily can be torn apart and put back together as things change around them.



** I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review**

Was this review helpful?

Neruda on the Park by Cleyvis Natera was one of the few books I finished last month, and YOOOOOO. Eusebia was wild! It felt appropriate to pair the book with Where the Wild Hops are by @dogfishhead because things ESCALATE and my heart rate was definitely up a few times reading this book.

I really admire the way Natera writes the tension between past and present, especially how it affects characters’ relationships. It’s so beautifully done, as is how vividly the characters from around the neighborhood are written—they all felt real and familiar to me. It was like I KNEW these people and I love that I saw myself and my experience in these pages. I definitely recommend this book and can’t wait to read more of Cleyvis Natera’s work in the future!

Was this review helpful?

AMAZING! What a wonderful debut by a new Dominican author. This story touched me. The writing was impactful. Natera is definitely one to watch out for. I can't wait to see what else she publishes in the future!

Was this review helpful?

I typically enjoy a good multicultural novel but I struggled to get into this one. Might have just been me though because the reviews have been almost universally positive so I will chalk it up to a reading slump on my part.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

4.5 stars

Well this was a beautiful treat!

Beautifully written and poignant. Urban and dreamy at the same time. I especially recommend the audiobook, since all the hispanic accents of the characters makes it sound really authentic.

Even though this is a contemporary literary fiction (with some historical fiction elements) I also shelved this book as “Magical Realism”.. The lyrical prose, the whimsical storytelling and emotional imagery and the allusion of superstitions and tra use of dreams gave it the surreal undertones of a work of this genre. .

I'm not from the Dominican Republic, but I'm fortunate to have many friends and loved ones from DR and the representation of the Dominican culture seemed PRETTY AWESOME as well!

I know the main topics are gentrification, occupational inequality and other hardships DR immigrants have to endure, but to me the main theme of this book is family, especially motherly love. If there is a book that represents how incredibly dedicated Dominican mothers are THIS IS IT.

I loved every single one of these characters, and in return they made me fall hard for the story as well. But, I loved Eusebia, the most! I loved her unconditional love for her family and her courage to fight for them and everything she considered sacred like her traditions, her neighborhood and her home. Learning more about Dominican culture and history, especially of the American diaspora was the cherry at the top!

Was this review helpful?

Natera’s debut novel, Neruda on the Park, transported me to a fictional Dominican neighborhood in New York City that felt a lot like the Washington Heights of Miranda’s In the Heights, my favorite Broadway show. I was waiting for the Piragua guy to walk through the scene! Each character was rich, complex, and multi-layered. Luz’s journey, searching for her direction, was relatable as she balanced the expectations of others and the need to be true to herself. Her mother, Eusebia, was so much like many of the Jewish mothers with whom I am familiar. It was fascinating to watch her from the inside as she deteriorated both physically and mentally. I really enjoyed the interjections from the Tongues, the sisters who were not named, but played the role of the Greek chorus.

The love story was interesting, but Hudson was not believable to me. He just seemed like a fantasy, not reality, and I’m glad that his love story with Luz concluded as it had.

Natera took 15 years to write this book, and the care and commitment that she took to craft interesting characters and a story that moved seamlessly through various points of view, was evident. I look forward to her next book and hope that it does not take quite as long to publish.

My thanks to NetGalley for an Advanced Readers Copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in any way.

Was this review helpful?

A great debut novel by Cleyvis Natera, Set in New York in Nothar Park for 20 years. Luz and her mother and father arrived in New York from the Dominican Republic. Eusebia (Luz's mother) did not feel connected to the neighborhood but when a construction company comes in and starts tearing down the building across the way Eusebia will do anything to keep the neighborhood from destruction. I was interested in the story line of their life in the Dominican Republic and how they came to New York to have a better life for Luz. Luz in the end will have to make hard decisions and her parents have to trust her to make the right one. A beautiful story that has a original voice.

Was this review helpful?

I really wanted to love this book but it fell a little short for me. The premise is really interesting, The Guerreros, along with their neighbors, are fighting the gentrification of their neighborhoods. Luz and her mother, Esuebia, are at odds with each other for much of the book, and so their tense relationship adds more fuel to the fire.
I'm not sure where it fell flat for me, maybe Luz's love interest? Maybe Esuebia's growing manic state and dangerous schemes that quickly got away from her? Maybe both?

Was this review helpful?