A Handbook to Luck by Cristina Garcia


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  • Pub. Date: April 2007
  • 272pp
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    Product Details

    • Pub. Date: April 2007
    • Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
    • Format: Hardcover, 272pp


    In the late 60s, three teenagers from around the globe are making their way in the world: Enrique Florit, from Cuba, living in southern California with his flamboyant magician father; Marta Claros, getting by in the slums of San Salvador; Leila Rezvani, a well-to-do surgeon's daughter in Tehran. We follow them through the years, surviving war, disillusionment, and love, as their lives and paths intersect. With its cast of vividly drawn characters, its graceful movement through time, and the psychological shifts between childhood and adulthood, A Handbook to Luck is a beautiful, elegiac, and deeply emotional novel by beloved storyteller Cristina García.

    Publishers Weekly

    García's solid triptych opens in 1968, where Enrique Florit is a nine-year-old struggling to retain memories of his mother, who died in a bizarre accident in Cuba during one of his father Fernando's magic acts. Father and son relocate to Las Vegas, where Enrique develops a fascination with gambling. The novel then shifts to Marta Claros, a young girl attempting to eke out a living for her family in San Salvador, El Salvador, by selling used clothing. Marta's younger brother, Evaristo, escapes from their violent stepfather and takes up residence in a coral tree, only to witness brutal acts committed by soldiers at night. Marta, meanwhile, devises a plan to immigrate to the U.S., hoping to send for Evaristo later. In yet another part of the world, Leila Rezvani grows up amid luxurious yet isolated surroundings in Tehran, where her mother flirts with the horticulturist, her father is absorbed by his work, and her brother is dying. Enrique emerges as the central figure as years pass, first entangling with Leila, whom he meets in a casino, and later with Marta, with whom he has a platonic relationship. García (Dreaming in Cuban) lovingly portrays her characters grappling with misfortune and luck in unfamiliar surroundings. (Apr.)

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    Cristina García was born in Havana, Cuba, and grew up in New York City. Her first novel, Dreaming in Cuban, was nominated for a National Book Award and has been widely translated. She has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University, and the recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award. Cristina has also written a middle grade novel, I Wanna Be Your Shoebox. Dreams of Significant Girls is her first teen novel. She lives with her family in Texas and New York.

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