Brand New Memory
by Elías Miguel Muñoz
Publication Date: March 30, 1998
Bind: Trade Paperback
Gina Domingo lives in the world of southern California pop culture. Cuban-American by birth, Gina is less a multiculturalist than an omniculturalist, absorbing everything in her path. But her life with her overly-protective parents takes an unexpected turn when Gina’s paternal grandmother, Estela, visits.
Here is Gina’s abuela—whom Gina hasn’t seen since the family left Cuba—come to set the record straight. Now Gina’s entire range of experience, memories, and family truths begin to change. Estela doesn’t impose her history on a family still coming to grips with its past and life in exile. Instead, she regales her granddaughter with tales of the island. When Estela unexpectedly dies while visiting the United States, Gina finds she has been bequeathed a legacy of freedom to create her own memories, her own version of the past.
Like Salinger’s Holden Caulfield, or the heroines of Joyce Carol Oates’s Foxfire, the teenaged protagonist of Brand New Memory is possessed of a voice so simpática—so engrossing in her perception of herself, her family, and her friends—that we find ourselves mesmerized and unable to stop turning the pages.