Catalina: A Novel (Hardcover)

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Description


A year in the life of the unforgettable Catalina Ituralde, a wickedly wry and heartbreakingly vulnerable student at an elite college, forced to navigate an opaque past, an uncertain future, tragedies on two continents, and the tantalizing possibilities of love and freedom

“Diabolically charming and magnetic. I enjoyed the hell out of this little exploding geyser of a book.”—Ira Glass

When Catalina is admitted to Harvard, it feels like the fulfillment of destiny: a miracle child escapes death in Latin America, moves to Queens to be raised by her undocumented grandparents, and becomes one of the chosen. But nothing is simple for Catalina, least of all her own complicated, contradictory, ruthlessly probing mind. Now a senior, she faces graduation to a world that has no place for the undocumented; her sense of doom intensifies her curiosities and desires. She infiltrates the school’s elite subcultures—internships and literary journals, posh parties and secret societies—which she observes with the eye of an anthropologist and an interloper’s skepticism: she is both fascinated and repulsed. Craving a great romance, Catalina finds herself drawn to a fellow student, an actual budding anthropologist eager to teach her about the Latin American world she was born into but never knew, even as her life back in Queens begins to unravel. And every day, the clock ticks closer to the abyss of life after graduation. Can she save her family? Can she save herself? What does it mean to be saved?

Brash and daring, part campus novel, part hagiography, part pop song, Catalina is unlike any coming-of-age novel you’ve ever read—and Catalina, bright and tragic, circled by a nimbus of chaotic energy, driven by a wild heart, is a character you will never forget.

About the Author


Karla Cornejo Villavicencio is the author of the National Book Award finalist The Undocumented Americans. Her work, which focuses on race, culture, and immigration, has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Vogue, Elle, n+1, The New Inquiry, Interview, and on NPR.

Praise For…


The Undocumented Americans author Karla Cornejo Villavicencio’s first novel follows the titular character, a charming and cunning undocumented Ivy League student, as she prepares for post-grad life. . . . With Catalina, Villavicencio draws from her own experience as an undocumented person and Harvard grad to give voice to a fierce, but vulnerable character.”Time

“Diabolically charming and magnetic . . . About once every page of Catalina I found myself pausing to marvel at some incredibly breathtaking sentence.  I honestly don’t know how you write like this. I don’t know how you make something that feels so urgent and driven and alive. I enjoyed the hell out of this little exploding geyser of a book.”—Ira Glass

“Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, one of the most kinetic and ingenious writers of this sorry epoch, has given us a hero among heroes—a young woman as extraordinary and regular as us all, or as we hope to be. Catalina forever. Everybody else is on notice.”—Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

“Smart, charming, funny, ambitious . . . By so enthrallingly and perceptively giving unprecedented individual voice to a defining issue of our time, Catalina seems destined to be a contemporary American classic.”—Francisco Goldman, author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist Monkey Boy

“Wonderful . . . Karla Cornejo Villavicencio has given us two gifts in one, a character so sparkling in her independence, so fierce in her refusal to be confined to stereotype. In prose that bristles with intelligence and wit, we see Catalina facing the uncertainties of undocumented immigrant life and, at the same time, we get the full range of her life—her erudite mind, her questing soul, her desire for love and freedom. Catalina is a funny, tender, and urgent novel.”—Glenda R. Carpio, author of Laughing Fit to Kill

“An unforgettable character . . . Page after page I wrestled with Catalina but she refused to be pinned down, earning my fury and affection. She’s an American original, a fragile and funny powerhouse.”—Quiara Alegría Hudes, author of My Broken Language

“In her first novel, [Karla] Cornejo Villavicencio introduces brazen, smart Catalina . . . irreverent and often laugh-out-loud funny . . . Catalina demands her due from friends, lovers, professors, and familia in Cornejo Villavicencio’s bravura bildungsroman.”Booklist, starred review
Product Details
ISBN: 9780593449097
ISBN-10: 0593449096
Publisher: One World
Publication Date: July 23rd, 2024
Pages: 224
Language: English