The Storyteller's Death

A Novel

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Pub Date 04 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 08 Oct 2022
SOURCEBOOKS Landmark, Sourcebooks Landmark

Description

From International Latino Book Award-winning author Ann Dávila Cardinal comes a gorgeously written family saga about a Puerto Rican teenager who finds herself gifted (or cursed?) with a strange ability.

There was always an old woman dying in the back room of her family's house when Isla was a child...

Isla Larsen Sanchez's life begins to unravel when her father passes away. Instead of being comforted at home in New Jersey, her mother starts leaving her in Puerto Rico with her grandmother and great-aunt each summer like a piece of forgotten luggage.

When Isla turns eighteen, her grandmother, a great storyteller, dies. It is then that Isla discovers she has a gift passed down through her family's cuentistas. The tales of dead family storytellers are brought back to life, replaying themselves over and over in front of her.

At first, Isla is enchanted by this connection to the Sanchez cuentistas. But when Isla has a vision of an old murder mystery, she realizes that if she can't solve it to make the loop end, these seemingly harmless stories could cost Isla her life.

From International Latino Book Award-winning author Ann Dávila Cardinal comes a gorgeously written family saga about a Puerto Rican teenager who finds herself gifted (or cursed?) with a strange...


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781728250779
PRICE $16.99 (USD)
PAGES 336

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Average rating from 57 members


Featured Reviews

The Storyteller's Death
by Ann Davila Cardinal
Pub Date: October 4, 2022
Sourcebooks
From International Latino Book Award-winning author Ann Dávila Cardinal comes a gorgeously written family saga about a Puerto Rican teenager who finds herself gifted (or cursed?) with a strange ability.

Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the ARC of this book.
I loved this book! This delightful tale, set in Puerto Rico, focuses on the life of Isla - growing up between summers with her great Aunt on the Island, and home in New Jersey. With the constant back and forth, she doesn’t feel like she really belongs in either location - always an outsider.

To add to her confusion, Isla is also a storyteller, part of a long line of storytellers within the Sanchez family. Is it a blessing, or a curse? The fact that it’s not even allowed to be discussed makes deciding that even more difficult.
I am recommending this book! A beautiful tale of growing up, of family, of the rich culture of Puerto Rico, of racism and privilege. I loved this book. 5 stars

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Omg I am so excited to read this book!!! Thank you so much for giving me access to this earc. My official review will come in, but for now, I wanted to express gratitude. Ann's work rocks, and I am sure this book will be no different. I mean, quenepas and Bayamón, a love letter!!!

Official review to come soon!

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An entrancing story of family secrets and how they effect generations. The writing and descriptions of Puerto Rico was very engaging.

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This book absolutely amazed me. I went in with zero expectations, but ended up absolutely loving it. The story kind of jumps through time, sometimes it's small jumps, sometimes bigger jumps. It is story that covers quite some years and a lot of family history. It being written this way made sure that we, as readers, know everything we need to know in order to read and understand the story.

The story was captivating, I wanted to know more and more. If I would have had the time I could have finished it in one sit. There was so much to read about and experience. The story itself did not move super quickly but it is written in a way that makes it so easy to glide through the book.

The characters are so well described. You can really see them develop throughout time. They really grow and mature when they get older. It makes the characters very realistic and like an actual family. I loved the way how the bonds between the different characters were described and how those relationships developed throughout the story.

The story was not predictable at all. I had no idea where the story was going and what was going to happen. So, ofcourse, I did not expect this ending.

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A wonderfully vivid coming of age story with great descriptions of Puerto Rico and well developed characters.

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This book very easily shot up to the top of the list of my favorite books of the year, and maybe of all time.

There is a warmth and a coziness to this story. But there is also grief and pain. Its balanced so well that you never feel overwhelmed by any of the "bad" things that happen in the story, but rather you feel a sense of empathy for the characters, our protagonist Isla especially.

This story is about stories, but its also about family legacy, family secrets, perception of self, perception of others and national pride. Puerto Rico is as much a character in this book as any of the others and Cardinal paints a rich and vibrant picture of the island, so much so that, while I've never been, I feel as if I have experienced it.

I found the fact that Cardinal wove together Isla's discovery of family secrets with the uncovering of political and racial unrest in her family fascinating. They do so often go together. Isla's island family is wealthy, but she doesn't necessarily see it as such, perhaps because she's viewing island life through the lens of an american who does struggle to get by. to peel back the layers of how her family, descendant from Spanish settlers, feels about those with more native blood was eye opening, for me as much as for Isla.

The stories themselves function as a conduit for Isla's learning and growth. She is young and sheltered when she first receives her gift, but because of the visions, she has to grow up. She learns things that have been kept from her. She is able to understand her family on a more intimate level, and to understand that everyone hides things, twists the truth, lies. but its not always for the wrong reasons. Through her struggles with her gift and trying to learn how it works, isla repairs relationships and even brings peace to other family members who have been silently struggling right along side her.

history, especially family history, is not black and white. its multi-faceted and full of brilliant colors. Cardinal has done an exceptional job at showing this to the reader. She excels at making small moments so poignant that they feel all the more special and powerful (one in particular sticks with me... it involves a sleepover)

This book is many-layered and each layer, as it peels back, is so satisfying to discover and savor.

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This is a beautiful, magical coming-of-age story about Isla Sanchez, a girl growing up in New Jersey in the 1970s’s. Her father dies when she is eight, and her mother neglects her as she descends into alcoholism. By contrast, she spends her summer with her great aunt in Puerto Rico, where she is embraced by a large, tightly-knit and well-connected family. The story covers the next ten years of her life as she grows up and finds out that she comes from a long line of storytellers. This is a novel to savor, with its rich character development and immersive descriptions of Puerto Rico.

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This delightful tale, set in Puerto Rico, focusses on the life of Isla - growing up between summers with her great Aunt on the Island, and home in New Jersey. With the constant back and forth, she doesn’t feel like she really belongs in either location - always an outsider.

To add to her confusion, Isla is also a storyteller, part of a long line of storytellers within the Sanchez family. Is it a blessing, or a curse? The fact that it’s not even allowed to be discussed makes deciding that even more difficult.

A beautiful tale of growing up, of family, of the rich culture of Puerto Rico, of racism and privilege. I loved this book.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my free copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Set in Puerto Rico, the author creates a vivid setting for this girl’s coming of age tale with a Caribbean twist.

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I feel blessed to have discovered this author and this novel. I don't know how to talk about it except to say, when you see it in a bookstore, grab it fast!

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Every family has a story, but when your family has a legacy as storytellers, your story is so much more complex. Isla loses her father and begins spending more time with her grandmother, a wonderful story teller, in Puerto Rico.

When he grandmother dies, Isla discovers the story telling is a gift that has been passed down to her and she embraces it. Then she finds that it’s more than just telling stories, but that it’s a continuous cycle and soon has a vision that could cost her more than she’s knew they gift would cost her.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much I loved this book! It is beyond anything I could have expected. It’s touching, it’s heartbreaking, it’s yard to put down, and it’s fabulous!

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What a wonderful story this was. Isla is often left, by her mother, to her grandmother and great-aunt in Puerto Rico. When her grandmother dies when Isla is eighteen she learns of a storytelling gift. My gosh was this ever enchanting and magical. I am not into fantasy at all but am trying to have an open mind this year and this really hit the spot because of the magical realism. I also enjoyed that it had the added bonus of a murder mystery. I really related to Isla because my mother often treated me like a forgotten piece of luggage when I was young. I was also transported to Puerto Rico (a place I know little about), and the descriptions of the location were so detailed. This was such a lovely yet emotional coming-of-age story with themes of race, privilege, and politics at its core.

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The Storyteller's Death
Author, Ann Davila Cardinal
Pub date: 10.4.22

Thank you Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for the e- arc of this magical mystery novel!

After her father passes away, Isla Larsen Sanchez's mother begins to fly her to Puerto Rico to spend her summers with her great- aunt and grandmother. She acknowledges that life alone with her mother is difficult and rather than taking on the responsibility to care of her mother as she drowns her sorrows in alcohol, Isla begins to look forward to her care- free summers spent away with family.

At eighteen, after the death of her grandmother, a great cuentista or storyteller of the family passes away, Isla begins to have visions of her grandmother's stories- but not just as her grandmother told them, but rather how the story actually happened. Why is she witnessing events of stories that were never told and why is she witnessing them every single day? At first, she was amazed and a little excited about this family inheritance that no one speaks of, but after she witnesses an old family murder mystery, she's not so sure that her visions are actually a gift at all. When another Sanchez women dies, Isla begins to understand that she must learn the purpose of these particular visions and what she can do to make them stop repeating...

The Storyteller's Death is magical realism novel with a gripping murder mystery wrapped up in an intriguing family saga that takes place in the beautiful and atmospheric setting of Puerto Rico. Rich with traditions. customs, and Puerto Rican culture, this novel is filled with dangerous secrets and complex characters that will have you furiously turning the pages to learn the mystery of the Sanchez family while admiring the beautiful relationships between the flawed, but fabulous Sanchez women.

4.5 stars!

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True to Cardina's style this is a novel weaving together family history, dark secrets, and magical realism.

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This book really makes you think more into family history and what you may have missed or was hidden from you.

It really keeps you intrigued with twist and turns and definitely did not see the ending but it all adds up at the same time.

Isla is a very relatable character who is drug into her family’s history and uncovers a lot of information that many generations wanted hidden.

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This book had a slow build-up for me. It took a minute for me to get into it. But once I did, I couldn't put it down; the last ten chapters went by fast. It had so much sadness and grief within it. And a family dealing with alcoholism and important family secrets. And the dead only wanted the truth of their stories told by the person given the vision.

Overall this was a good book, and I enjoyed it very much. I like reading books by authors different from me and being able to see how the culture differs from mine.

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Isla's life changed when her father died when she was 8 years old. She started spending more time with her great aunt.

This book is a blend of coming of age, mystery, and magical realism.

The book is about the storyteller and family secrets. It also focuses on family love and bonding and friendship.
I liked Isla’s character. One can sympathise with her. She was sheltered at the beginning of the book, but as it went on, she took steps to uncover the secrets of the family. Isla's character development was brilliantly written, and the readers can see her growth.

All the characters and the character development throughout the book were well written, and it made them feel very realistic.

The description of Puerto Rico was fantastic.

The book started slowly but picked up the pace as Isla began to see visions. The plot was very gripping. The plot was written. I love the depth and layers in the plot. There were twists in the plot. The plot was very unpredictable.

It is an excellent read and highly recommended.

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What amazing book this was it was well written. I love how the story revolved Around the murder mystery and how this story was like love story but also How tragedy also played apart in the story. The main character named L SIA. She would spend summers with her great aunt named ALA M. She wasn't really interesting character because she was time to the past LSI a Mother was her sister. When you start reading the book it was kind of interesting because there's something going on about how they have care blood. Now that came from Spain do not mingle with the black people on the island.. Her aunt is to tell her her stories about passed and I'll something happened with the monkeys Lisa Start to have Visuals of what happened and she was frightened. Her aunt was a great storyteller but stopped Because of what happened. Jos It was her friend who helped her out with this too. She had her cousin Maria was really helpful so she stay with her. She had a lot to deal with as a child because her father died very young.. Story just weaves through a lot of things. It's interesting because it became like a puzzle and how you put the pieces in. When ALA NA die they died this is when the story really took off.

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Isla’s life changed dramatically after her father died, when her mother was consumed by grief and Isla was sent to stay with family in Puerto Rico. Isla learns upon her grandmother's death that she comes from a line of cuentistas, family storytellers. And after seeing the stories of her dead relatives play out before her eyes, Isla discovers that she’s a cuentista too.

This story is completely transportive, full of richly painted characters and family history. I absolutely love how the magical aspects of this book approach grief, memory, and legacy. And the note at the end about Ann Dávila Cardinal's inspiration for the book made it hit even harder! I adore this book and hope it finds its way into the hearts of many readers.

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