Midnight Sandwiches at the Mariposa Express
By Beatriz Rivera
Published: 30 Jun 1997
Bind: Trade Paperback
Meet Trish Izquierdo, a young, upwardly mobile Latina living in the not-too-lively and perhaps not-too-colorful town of West Echevarria. Weaving together a vivid tapestry of town life and the lives of its citizens, hers is the rich and inviting voice that spins this delightful tale.
Trish knows the town history well and, because she devours travelogues, she knows what the town lacks. As she gathers with everyone to plan the annual celebration of the towns founding at the Mariposa Express, where the townsfolk stop not only to eat its rich food but to catch up on the gossip, Trish decides to make something of West Echevarria. She will fill it with interesting people, give the town culture, even if it means she has to invent, steal and recreate the town’s history!
In this engaging and thought provoking tale of love, compassion and the preservation of family, the town of West Echevarria explodes with life as Trish sets out on an adventure that will leave the reader yearning for more.
“A large cast of endearingly self-absorbed characters struggle along in Rivera’s sure-handed comedy as private fantasy, public aspiration and hard reality collide.” —Publishers Weekly
“The chapters of this first novel whirl and flash around Trish, capturing her energy and on-the-edge style. Recommended.” —Library Journal
Beatriz Rivera cleverly conveys the experience of the Latina woman attempting to reconcile her heritage and her existence within the greater construct of the American society in her short stories and novels. Rivera’s characters draw from their distinctive backgrounds to forge a bi-cultural image of themselves and their communities.
Cuban-born Beatriz Rivera grew up in Miami. She finished high school in Switzerland and then went on to study Philosophy in Paris where she received a Master’s degree. Her intention then was to remain in Europe and never to return to the U.S. She began writing her first novel in Paris, while teaching English and Spanish in area schools. Rivera spent ten years in Paris until one day she realized that, as a writer, she didn’t have much of an identity. If she wasn’t Parisian, and wasn’t an American in Paris, what was she?
After returning to the U.S., two of her short stories appeared in journals: the first, entitled “Paloma,” appeared in The Americas Review, and the other, “Life Insurance,” in Chiricu, Bloomington, Indiana. Three years later, her short story collection, African Passions and Other Stories (Arte Público Press, 1995), was published. Other short stories and poems appeared in reviews such as The Afro-Hispanic Review, and in anthologies such as Little Havana Blues (Arte Público Press, 1996) and Floricanto, Si! (Penguin Books, 1998).
Rivera’s three works eloquently demonstrate Rivera’s humor and spirit. Rivera followed her collection of short stories, African Passions, with her novel Midnight Sandwiches at the Mariposa Express (Arte Público Press, 1997). In 2000, Arte Público Press released her third work, a novel entitled Playing with Light. In all three books, Rivera creates a funny yet realistic portrait of the Cuban American female struggling to find her place in the American Dream. Her latest novel, Do Not Pass Go (Arte Público Press, 2006), is about an unlikely love affair between a former child prodigy and a newspaper reporter.
In 2002, Rivera completed her Ph.D. in Spanish Literature on Challenging the Canon: A History of Latina Literature Anthologies, 1980-2000 at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City. She is an Assistant Professor at Penn State University and lives in Northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.