September 14, 2011
I first encountered Marisel Vera through our mutual friend—author Tayari Jones—who noted that Marisel and I share the same publisher and editor. Marisel contacted me by E-mail, inviting me to blurb her debut novel, If I Bring You Roses. I devoured this book in great, greedy gulps, recognizing in the narrative the honesty and depth of feeling that creates an unforgettable experience of literature. Her characters, Aníbal and Felicidad remain with me to this day; the impression they leave with the reader is as indelible as the impact made by family members or close friends.
The novel transports the reader along with Aníbal and Felicidad from island to mainland, as they navigate a tricky terrain of being neither this nor that, an unmapped region of cultural otherness that complicates, challenges, and ultimately enriches not just the reader’s understanding of the immigrant experience, but of what it means to be a human being.