Cover Image: Neruda on the Park

Neruda on the Park

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Member Reviews

Neruda on the Park is a story of Puerto Rican families that have come to America and settled into their own small community. Where they have  lived, loved and have their own sense of pride of country past and the future.
When rich white Americans come in and want to tear down everything the older generation holds near and dear to their heart.
And one woman takes it upon herself to stop it.
The storyline dragged for me, but added all together this book is a good book.
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This story about Dominican immigrants in New York City alarmed by the gentrification of their neighborhood  is captivating as it draws you deep into the emotional turmoil within the Guerrero family - mother, father and grown daighter - as they face major life changes.
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Neruda On the Park by Cleyvis Natera

Neruda on the Park follows the members of a Dominican family who have lived in New York City for more than 20 years. Demolition begins in a near by tenement and the Guerreros and others,  are not too happy about a new luxuary condo right next door. This means their close-knit community is about to change. Though daughter Lux, starts to date the handsome head of the construction company and is all for luxuary. This is a really good story about family, gentrification and what really makes a home. Thank you Netgalley for the advanced readers copy in exchange for my review.
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This is a complex, character driven, culturally forward debut novel. Eusebia and Vladimir immigrated to the U.S. from the Dominican Republis when their daughter, Luz was in the third grade, 20 years ago. Vladimir is now eagerly having a home built back in the DR for their retirement, while Eusebia has unvoiced reservations about leaving. When a tenement building is torn down across the street from their apartment in Nothar Park, NY, Eusebia joins forces with her friends and neighbors to fight against gentrification of their neighborhood. She strongly feels the need to preserve and protect their families and their community at almost all costs. At the same time, Luz, who is now a successful lawyer, is questioning her past and future career choices and a romantic relationship that has blossomed with a developer of the new condo project across the street that will displace many residents in her neighborhood.

The novel slowly wends its way through the mother/daughter conflict between Eusebia and Luz. Late in the story though, the action begins to pick up speed like a runaway train. The author does a good job of taking the reader on an emotional journey with the characters. You can viscerally feel their anxieties and desperation; their feelings of hopelessness and sadness. I was personally not enamored with some of the outcomes of the story or the direction of the problem resolutions, but I think that this would be a good discussion book for Book Clubs.

My sincere thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine for giving me the opportunity to read a digital ARC of this book in return for an honest review. I will post my review on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble closer to the publication date.
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It took Cleyvis Natera 15 years to write this book.  And it was time well spent.  So beautifully written with characters that seem to jump off the pages, this novel makes you wish you were part of that Dominican neighborhood.  
The story of Luz and Eusebia is so very compelling..  A mother and daughter who so love one another but are often at odds.  This alone transcends all races and religions.  It's an age old story.  And how does one stop change from coming to a NYC neighborhood?  This is the crux of this book.  All that happens to the many characters revolves around this dilemma.
I was enchanted with this story from the very beginning.  And was completely satisfied with how it unfolded, even though I found some of it disturbing.
I highly recommend this book.
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Thank you for the advanced copy of this book! I will be posting my review on social media, to include Instagram, Amazon, Goodreads, and Instagram!
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I finished reading Neruda on the Park a week or so ago, and I have been thinking about it ever since.  Luz Guerrero is the daughter of Domincan immigrant parents. They live in Northar Park, an immigrant community in NYC, which is undergoing significant changes due to gentrification.  Throughout the book, we, the readers, get to "watch" a large new housing complex go up, threatening the existing housing of the long term residents of the Park.  Luz, a double Ivy League grad, works in Big Law, with its grueling hours, unreasonable demands, and opulent displays of wealth. 

Natera does a beautiful job of showing Luz with a foot in two worlds, trying to make sense of her place and her call in the world, as well as illustrating the double edge sword of redevelopment.  The story and its structure are compelling and unique. The author has choses poignant and meaningful names for her characters.  Some of the names alone tell a story.  For example, there's Luz Guerrero, a light in the community and a warrior; and her mother Eusebia (from Greek meaning spiritual maturity or godliness) who gives and gives and gives to others. Natera has also cleverly structured the book like a building project: Demolition, Excavation, and Grounding.  Not do you read about the demotion, construction and completion of the new building through the eyes of the residents of Nothar Park, as the reader you also get to witncess Luz's and Eusebia's character arcs follow this structure.  The structure lends a poetic quality to the writing.
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Neruda on the Park by Cleyvis Natera is a book everyone is going to be talking about this year, I can already tell.  

This book follows Luz and her mother Eusebia as their mostly Dominican neighborhood in NYC is threatened by gentrification. When construction starts on a building of luxury condos across the way, everyone in their building is told to move out or pay up because their building is going to be taken over too. Eusebia, quiet and constantly serving others her while life, decides they need to fight back. Luz, content to go with the status quo, is not so sure. 

The neighborhood take over was fascinating, but the inner turmoil the characters went through is what really sold it for me. Each character is fighting their own battles and the language flowing through out the book captured it beautifully. I will definitely be recommending this one!
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A beautiful exploration of what makes us who we are, and how our parents' choices affect our lives more than we could ever think.
A neighborhood of Dominican immigrants faces the destruction of life as they know it as developers move in. A group of ladies called "The Tongues" join forces with Eusebia to make it known that they will not be allowing change to come to their territory, and they go about it in quite interesting ways.
Luz, Eusebia's daughter, has recently lost her job as a successful attorney, and cannot decide what she wants to do with her life, much to Eusebia's chagrin. She happens to meet a man named Hudson whom she quickly falls for, despite the fact that he is a developer for the construction outfit demolishing a building in her neighborhood and causing her mother-and many other residents-so much grief.
What Eusebia doesn't know is that Luz and her father, Vladimir, have been secretly building a "dream home" for Eusebia (and Vladimir) back home in the Dominican Republic. Though Eusebia has always talked about "returning home", in truth she has decided she no longer wants to go back to the Dominican Republic. She loves her home and wants to stay exactly where she is.
Codependency, secrets, love, and loss are explored in a journey toward figuring out exactly where our REAL home lies, and what that means for different people. And what happens when the plans you had for your life totally fly out the window and force you to really look around at your life and where you are, to find out where you're meant to go.
This book was so beautifully written, you felt like you were right there with the characters, feeling and seeing what they felt and saw.

Thanks, NetGalley, for the eARC of this beautiful book.
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Neruda on the Park gave me insight to the Dominican Republic customs and what it' like for people from there to come to the U.S. for an opportunity to get an education and better jobs after completing an education.  It tells us about a family who came to New York after her husband arrived first to secure a job in the police department.  Sure is came with her daughter Luz who was her only living child after having lost her child at birth.  Luz was a Harvard Law school graduate who landed a job in a prestigious law firm.  Circumstances had it that her job didn't last.  She lived in a section of New York called Jerusalem on the Park where Spanish people lived.  A large corporation was set to demolish the apartments and rebuild them into condo's.  Hudson who was a billionaire and in charge of the project fell in love with Luz.  There is so much more to the story that I highly recommend this book.
I have received this book free from Arc and I am leaving this honest review of my own accord.
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A debut novel, the author paints a picture of immigrant life in New York City. The characters are described so clearly that the narrative is vivid. Add in the fact that the life trajectories of each person are so different, and the reader has a captivating plot that you will be reluctant to put down.

Ms. Natera, thank you for taking us along on a plot that twists and turns and leaves the reader holding on for more. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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“Neruda on the Park” is a debut novel by Cleyvis Natera. 

This book tries to answer the chestnut of “where is home?” Is it a physical place, is it a person, is it two places or is “home” fluid? For one character, Luz, home has always been Nothar Park, an area of New York City mostly home to Dominicans. For her father, Vladimir, home is the Dominican Republic. For her mother, Eusebia, she tells Vladimir that home is back in the DR, but keeps secret that home is actually Nothar Park. 

There’s a lot of trying to work things out in this story - Luz wants to work out where she’s going to work, Vladimir wants his dream house in DR to be completed, Eusebia wants to work on keeping gentrification from removing her family (and friends) from Nothar Park. 

I wanted to like this book a lot more than I actually did. I liked reading about Luz trying to figure out her life path - she’s in the law field but being “just” a high powered lawyer doesn’t hold the attraction it once did, so what will she become now? Her boyfriend, Hudson, I couldn’t warm up to - and the dinner scene with his friends I was confused by - other than it setting up tension in their relationship. I wished that Vladimir could’ve been explored more, but as this was mainly a story about mother-daughter relationship issues, I can see why the author chose not to delve more into his viewpoint on things. I felt like the last section of the book was a little too quickly paced. I also found some places in this book a bit choppy and things unresolved. I do believe that if Ms. Natera writes another book, I’d pick it up to read as her writing style was enjoyable. As a note, if you (like me) don’t speak Spanish, there’s not a glossary in the back of the book (it would’ve helped me a bit, must admit). I’d give this book a solid 3.25 stars - rounded down to 3.
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Thanks Netgalley for allowing me to read this book  Luz has lived in a city in New York with her family for years. Her mother is not happy that a neighboring building is being demolished and is hoping to stop it. I enjoyed this book and can't wait to read the next one.
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"Neruda on the Park" is a deeply personal and poignant story of the Guerrera family as they struggle to combat the rising gentrification of their community and their own relationships within their family. The matriarch of the family, Eusebia, refuses to accept the displacement of their community and wages a tragic war against the development of luxury condos in their community. Meanwhile, her daughter Luz struggles to define her career goals and choose between her community and her new love interest who is actively working to gentrify their neighborhood. Academically, this book explores the relationships between low-income communities and gentrification. However, the heart of this book is all about the relationships between families and their communities-how can we heal from the trauma and expectations that our families inflict on us and form our own identities? How much are we willing to sacrifice for the common good?
The characterization and structure of the novel are central to addressing the relationship within the Northar Park community that helps the reader understand the big picture of the novel. The vignettes within the novel were very engaging and allows the reader to gain a full understanding of Luz and Eusebia's characters and relationships. The loose diction and overall dialogue in the novel switches from formal to informal but remains vulnerable which makes the novel an intimate read. The intimacy and vulnerability of the novel drives the readers experiences throughout the novel and makes it easier to follow the pace. The novel's emphasis on literature and words healing a community beautifully explores the relationship between literature and personal relationships. It is evident that the author is a student of literature given that almost every relationship in this book forms through bonds over books. The references to contemporary and historical authors of color and their contributions to the community is an interesting sub-plot within the novel. The author really takes time to develop a full identity for each character within the novel and maintain their humanity; the absence of one-dimensional characters is remarkable and is a good complement to the main relationship between the main characters. 
The only critique that I have for this book is that I believe that the fullness of the story could be expanded if Vladimir's voice could be included more within the novel. 
This book is a good read for fans of multi-generational stories like "Dominicana" by Angie Cruz and like the vulnerability of books like "Transcendent Kingdom" by Yaa Gyasi.
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Thank you to the author and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read this book. This is my honest review.

On the surface the book revolves around a Dominican community in NYC that is being invaded by gentrification.  More than that it is about women and the way the view themselves and relate to each other. At its heart it is a story of growth and change..

The 2 MCs are Eustabia who emigrated to NY and Luz, her "successful" daughter.  These women aren't always likeable but they are individuals who are extremely relatable ìn their struggles. I loved being immersed in their lives and culture as well as their growth.  

The ending didn't wrap up everything with a pretty bow.  I found myself with questions and the desire to know more.
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I felt like I was right there watching everything happen in this story. What a powerful debut novel!
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Neruda on the Park is a provocative story of Dominican Republic immigrants living in New York.  It focuses on the mother-daughter relationship between Eusebia and Luz and their generational differences.  There is an underlying theme of privilege vs. harsh immigrant struggles.  

The Guerreros have sacrificed for their daughter, moving from the Dominican Republic to Nothar Park, a Dominican neighborhood for a better life.  Vladimir takes a job in law enforcement, and Eusebia lives for her daughter and community.  There are high expectations for Luz, who graduates from Harvard and works for a prestigious law firm.  Unfortunately, thinking she will be promoted, Luz is let go.  Luz re-evaluates her life and place in the world while maintaining close ties to her family and childhood friends.

At the same time, changes are happening in her neighborhood as a developer wants to turn their apartments into condos.  At a protest, Luz meets Hudson, head of the development firm.  As their relationship intensifies, her mother, Eusebia, sets out to destroy the new condos to preserve their culture.  Vladimir has his own plans of moving back to the Dominican Republic to retire and escape their hard life.  But he rushes back to save his wife and daughter from the collision course created by their differences.  Neruda on the Park is a richly developed dark story that also sparks hope for the Dominican Republic community.  I thank NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine for allowing me to read and review.   This review will be posted on 1/31/2022 on, @Ckumanchik, and Goodreads.  #NetGalley #NerudaonthePark
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Neruda on the Park tells the story of Eusebia and Luz Guerrero, a close-knit mother-daughter duo, as they confront major life changes - jobs ending, crime, gentrification, and more - in their own ways.

Luz is her parents' dream child - a successful lawyer who has taken advantage of every sacrifice her parents made in order to advance her career and live out the American dream. Her mother, Eusebia, is defined almost entirely by her role as a mother. At least at the start.

Things change very quickly for our characters and their neighborhood. Their motivations and desires are so strong that I ended up rooting for both characters, even when they were at odds with each other. 

We often talk about various threads of a story being woven together, and that's certainly true here - we see how Luz and Eusebia love each other, depend on each other, yet each is living in her own world. More than that, though, this is a book of unraveling. We watch close relationships unravel, the fabric of a neighborhood unravel, the mind of one character unravel. And yet we also see the unraveling of old arguments, allowing the characters to come back together with a fresh start.

Overall, this was a very powerful novel, tackling big themes while remaining grounded and real. 

3.5 stars, rounded up.

Thank you to NetGalley and to Random House for this ARC (my very first!).
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This is a beautiful and unique story of an immigrant family and their struggles. The writing was good but the plot felt a little far-fetched at times. I enjoyed the general premise of the novel and the characters but some of the events pulled me out of the immersive experience and reminded me I was reading a fictional book. For that reason, I give it 3 stars. 

Thank you Netgalley and Ballantine Books for the digital ARC!
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Riveting debut novel from Cleyvis Natera! Neruda on the Park is beautifully written and provides a strong sense of place in an immigrant Dominican community in NYC.  I was totally drawn in to Luz and Eusebia's respective stories and their experiences of assimilation and gentrification.  This is an important book for people to read.  It's not perfect, but it's rawness and imperfections make it all the more interesting.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC, in exchange for my honest review.
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