Meet Me under the Ceiba

Meet Me under the Ceiba I M Not Afraid Of That Old Man, Adela Once Told Her Niece But Everyone In The Small Town Of La Curva, Nicaragua, Knew That The Wealthy Land Owner, Don Roque Ramirez, Wanted Adela Rugama Dead And On Christmas Day, Adela Disappeared It Was Two Months Before Her Murdered Body Was Found An American Professor Of Nicaraguan Descent Spending The Summer In His Parents Homeland Learns Of Adela S Murder And Vows To Unravel The Threads Of The Mystery He Begins The Painstaking Process Of Interviewing The Townspeople, And It Quickly Becomes Apparent That Adela A Hardworking Campesina Who Never Learned To Read And Write And Don Roque Had One Thing In Common The Beautiful Ixelia Cruz The Love Of Adela S Life, Ixelia Was One Of Don Roque S Many Possessions Until Adela Lured Her Away The Interviews With Adela S Family, Neighbors, And Former Lovers Shed Light On The Circumstances Of Her Death And Reveal The Lively Community Left Reeling By Her Brutal Murder, Including Her Older Sister Mariela And Her Four Children, Who Spent Christmas Morning With Their Beloved Aunt, Excitedly Unwrapping The Gifts She Brought Them That Fateful Day Her Neighbor And Friend, Lizbeth Hodgson, The Beautiful Mulata Who Rejected Adela S Passionate Advances Early In Their Relationship Padre Uriel, Who Did Not Welcome Adela To Mass Because She Loved Women Though He Has No Qualms About His Lengthy Affair With A Married Woman Her Former Lover Gloria, The Town S Midwife, Who Is Forever Destined To Beg Her Charges To Name Their Newborn Daughters Adela Through Stories And Gossip That Expose Jealousies, Scandals, And Misfortunes, Sirias Lovingly Portrays The Community Of La Curva, Nicaragua, In All Its Evil And Goodness The Winner Of The Chicano Latino Literary Prize, This Spellbinding Novel Captures The Essence Of A World Rarely Seen In American Literature

Sirias was born in Los Angeles, California and moved to Granada, Nicaragua when he was eleven years old He returned to Los Angeles and attended the University of Arizona, where he received a Ph.D in Spanish and worked as a professor He returned, again, to Nicaragua in 1999 and later to Panama in 2002, where he now makes his home.Sirias has written and edited several books, including Bernardo and

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  • Paperback
  • 240 pages
  • Meet Me under the Ceiba
  • Silvio Sirias
  • English
  • 08 June 2019
  • 9781558855922

10 thoughts on “Meet Me under the Ceiba

  1. says:

    La Curva is an unremarkable small Nicaraguan town, a few kilometres south of Masaya I ve known it for twenty years, and to me its only outstanding feature is a pair of huge guanacaste trees, bedecked with epiphytic plants, that stand on the south side of the main road or stood, I ve been told that one was recently cut down There is a story about the main bread shop being the product of a swindle, involving a local woman and her North American husband who invested his money in it, but whom she then deserted And there are several viveros or plant nurseries, one of which is owned by a relative of my wife s.But curiously, I d never heard the story that at the time made La Curva famous the murder in 1999 of Aura Rosa Pavon, a young lesbian who fell in love with a local beauty who was at the same time the unwilling mistress of a 70 year old coffee grower, owner of the farm called Mata de Guayabo The ageing coffee grower, his mistress s mother and an accomplice were found guilty of Aura s murder after her body was discovered by Aura s sister at the bottom of a disused latrine The combination of a lesbian love affair and a murder involving both the victim s mother and a local landowner created a national scandal A few years after it happened it drew the attention of writer Silvio Sirias, and Meet me under the Ceiba was the result.Like his most recent novel, The Saint of Santa Fe , his ruse is to act as a fictional reporter trying to find out why the murder occurred and how it was done He does, as he puts it, aim to keep the spirit of the true story while inventing many of the details of the fictional one Strangely, for such a lurid tale, he creates many likeable characters and even portrays La Curva, where in real life Aura seems have received mixed acceptance, as a congenial place which it is There are other similarities between the novels In both, the murderer turns out to be a right wing, wealthy landowner who in the Latin American tradition believes himself superior to the poor majority in his community, and behaves accordingly, especially with women In both, the victim s sister plays a prominent role in investigating their sibling s disappearance and in aiding the chronicler of the story which is a version of Sirias himself, of course, complete with bald pate.Above all, both novels are about odd ball characters who embody wider social themes about Latin America The priest in the later novel, set in Panama, is a liberation theologist, aiming to put his theories into practice by helping a poor and isolated community transform itself and challenge the landowner s power The novel is an exploration of how a community can become politically aware and exercise its latent ability to build a better future The young lesbian killed in the earlier novel is both challenging the status quo herself Nicaragua s then predominant homophobia and, in death, helps to shift social attitudes through the solidarity local people express and their horrified realisation of the ultimate consequences of homophobia Silvio Sirias wants to tell a good story and he does but in both cases he wants to use the telling of the story to throw light on a social theme He does this too, in a serious way which means we think about the issues even as our imaginations are gripped by the plot A novel that, at one level, is an entertaining crime story, is also a delightful exploration of small town Nicaraguan life and a chilling analysis of the hatreds and prejudices that can sometimes be hidden behind its welcoming exterior As in the Panamian novel, the characters who emerge best from the story are the victim and the victim s sister the former very strong, but ultimately paying the price for their convictions, the latter in both cases stalwart defenders of their siblings who come to share something of their ideals and remain alive to defend them.Twenty five years after the events the novel describes, I m happy to report that in my perception attitudes among average Nicaraguans have changed In Masaya, the city closest to La Curva, while jokes and even hostility persist, it is much muted than it used to be and gay people are much open about their sexuality We have several gay friends and acquaintances, and while not all are happy it seems inconceivable that any would be murdered for what they represent Indeed, Masaya has gained something of a reputation for its tolerance of gay people one of the many reasons why I am quietly proud of the place where I live.

  2. says:

    Silvio Sirias had a real good chance of moving this story forward with in depth descriptions of Nicaragua, but he failed to give me any substance at all The only props Sirias used to differentiate Nicaraguan setting from other Central American regions is the constant talk of Rojitas, cafe con leche, nacatamales, and the brief mention of the Somoza dynasty The language is not only repetitive On that fateful Christmas this line appears at least twice in each chapter but also dull and extremely flat and this is mainly due to the novel s style format Sirias chose to write Meet Me Under the Ceiba not as a fictional story, but as a journal, or a report There is hardly any narrative breathing space since most of the text in the novel is riddled with dialogue friends, neighbors, and family members of the murder victim, Adela Rugama The dialogue unravels the plot, something dialogue definitely shouldn t do, unless you want your readers to fall asleep half way through each conversation Sirias dialogue is unrealistic it derives on perfection, instead of going in circles like real life conversations tend to be, and it doesn t capture the unique way Nicaraguans speak on a daily basis harsh, blunt sentences without S sounding words and the constant moving of the palms in the air, and the occasional profanity not in all, but in most cases I m still not clear what the purpose of this novel is I understand that there was a need for the narrator author to uncover the truth about a tragic event in Nicaragua that was never resolved, but there s nothing The novel lacks plot it lacks the characteristics that make a true fictional piece functional The narrator seems to be amazed at the amount of people that called the murder victim conchona faggot, but not as harsh instead of Adela, without ever specifying to the reader that might not know much about Nicaragua, that calling someone cochona or maricon a in that part of the world is a way to describe someone without intentionally offending the person of course, this does not apply to everyone, bad intentioned language does exist El gordo, el flaco, el dienton, malcriado, huele pega, narizona, el bolo, el boludo these are all ways Nicaraguans identify others or themselves, they re used to this I m not saying that I agree with these apodos nicknames , I m saying that this is part of Nicaraguan life And for the narrator to leave this piece of information out doesn t do justice to the setting of the novel And it s definitely not a love story because I didn t see love through scenes, etc I was TOLD it was love It s hard to critique a novel that tells you everything the author doesn t trust his readers to make their own conclusions Without any meaty descriptions, plot, setting, concrete dialogue, and three dimensional characters, what am I left with In this case, a 238 page police report This is the best way I can describe Meet Me Under the Ceiba There are some aesthetically pleasing sentences like, But then, little by little, the way darkness slowly chokes the light out of a beautiful afternoon Adela grew distant 144 , but they re few it s as if Sirias was concerned with plot, especifically the ending where the reader is told not shown how Adela is killed by Don Roque His language lacks the same hunger he had to tell the tale.

  3. says:

    Reviewed by MarciaMember of Livin la vida LatinaReview What can I say This book just pulls you in and devours you It makes you feel part of the story as it s happening The author did a great job in reflecting on each character s life, history, and involvement in Adela Rugama s murder It s interesting how this book reads like a journal and a story at the same time You feel like an observer and a participant This book had all that I was looking for, and I m glad I read it

  4. says:

    After two years this book still has me stuck on the story of Adela Rugama Interesting read though I feel he was fascinated by the woman from Bluefields okay, we get it, she s beautiful move on Aside from that, I have recommended this book to tons of people who were not disappointed.

  5. says:

    Well developed characters that inevitably head for tragedy Characters that you respect, characters you hate, and characters you feel unbelievable pity forall living in a culture restricted with homophobia While injustice is rampant, the spirit ultimately wins.

  6. says:

    I really enjoyed this book Even I enjoyed meeting him here in Panama A great speaker also

  7. says:

    A very interesting based on a true story re telling.

  8. says:

    I didn t really like his writing, but the story did draw me in.

  9. says:

    Very vivid and descriptive It reads like both a journal and a story The details make you feel like you are right there in the middle of it all.

  10. says:

    Very interesting window into the lives of many different Nicaraguans And, good story I enjoyed the way it s told from many different points of view.

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