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Just before her father's sudden death, Cuban-American artist Veronica Gonzalez is offered her first gallery exhibit, a real chance to break into the art world. Torn between the need to mourn and the pressure to create new artwork, Veronica is propelled into a fever-dream of productivity and grief, amidst memories of her tumultuous relationship with her colorful but infuriating Cuban émigré father, a volatile man of outsize appetites and passions who never stopped longing for his homeland. Praised by Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka for its "lyrical pace and texture," WHITE LIGHT maps a young woman's struggle to distill her grief, rage, and love onto the canvas.
Praise for White Light:
“This first novel by Vanessa Garcia, the 2009 runner-up for the Rolex Mentor/Protégé Initiative for Literature, has indirectly rewarded that project in its world-wide search for fresh talent in the arts. A subtly woven network of relationships, it seduces with its lyrical pace and texture, tender and poignant, yet unsentimental. An artiste’s ‘walk in the woods’ that gently takes the reader by the hand.”
“White Light is a wonderfully generous creation, including a myriad of worlds while never blurring the firm line with which the author is always in control. The world of visual arts, of a Cuban American daughter and her difficult father, of food – its joys and terrors – of a young woman’s trying to navigate her way in a world that offers her simultaneously too few and too many possibilities. It is a throbbingly original achievement.”
“Vanessa Garcia’s brilliant first novel is a fresh contribution to the American portrait of an artist, following a young Cuban-American woman through a journey of personal disaster juxtaposed against professional success. White Light illuminates the complex assimilation of past into present, of heritage into culture, of life into the sort of art that is lasting, meaningful and necessary.”
“Many-tongued and of mixed-media, White Light is a novel as much about losing a father as about constructing a self through art – and as vibrant for its intelligence as for its emotions, colors, and pure passion.”
"The novel weaves the lyrical and prosaic to create a rich narrative tapestry. Garcia, in her very first book, has crafted a wholly distinct voice that's fully formed."
"...a relentless engine, told in rich, smart prose and lucid detail -equal parts elegy and portrait of an artist... A lush, vibrant portrayal of the creative process, a daughter's love, and the unstoppable maelstrom of grief."
Awards for White Light
International Latino Book Award Winner, Best Popular Fiction, 2016
White Light Included in Following Reading Lists/Book Clubs
30 Women Novelists You Should Know #30: Vanessa Garcia
2016 Top Ten
NPR'S Best Books of 2015
54 Kickass Novels of 2015
Al Dia's Best Books of 2015
15 Worthwhile Books You Might Have Missed in 2015
The Latina Book Club
The 'Not New York Times Summer Reading List'
Reviews for White Light:
A Coming of Age for Cuban American Literature
Ms. Hen Reviews White Light
Paula Lee on White Light
Review: "White Light" by Vanessa Garcia
Roadtrip; Key West (Two Poems)
Four Legged Flamingos (Short Story)
Sticks & Stones (Poetry)