An exhilarating debut novel following members of a Dominican family in New York City who take radically different paths when faced with encroaching gentrification
“The rare book that manages to be chilling, fun, and profound all at once.”—Naima Coster, New York Times bestselling author of What’s Mine and Yours
ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2022—The Rumpus, Electric Lit, The Millions, Lit Hub
The Guerreros have lived in Nothar Park, a predominantly Dominican part of New York City, for twenty years. When demolition begins on a neighboring tenement, Eusebia, an elder of the community, takes matters into her own hands by devising an increasingly dangerous series of schemes to stop construction of the luxury condos. Meanwhile, Eusebia’s daughter, Luz, a rising associate at a top Manhattan law firm who strives to live the bougie lifestyle her parents worked hard to give her, becomes distracted by a sweltering romance with the handsome white developer at the company her mother so vehemently opposes.
As Luz’s father, Vladimir, secretly designs their retirement home in the Dominican Republic, mother and daughter collide, ramping up tensions in Nothar Park, racing toward a near-fatal climax.
A beautifully layered portrait of family, friendship, and ambition, Neruda on the Park weaves a rich and vivid tapestry of community as well as the sacrifices we make to protect what we love most, announcing Cleyvis Natera as an electrifying new voice.
About the Author
Cleyvis Natera was born in the Dominican Republic, migrated to the U.S. at ten years old, and grew up in New York City. She holds a BA from Skidmore College and an MFA from New York University. Her writing has won awards and fellowships from PEN America, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, The Kenyon Review’s Summer Writers Workshops, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She lives with her husband and two young children in Montclair, New Jersey. This is her first novel.
“Cleyvis Natera has written a powerful and arresting novel with unforgettable characters. Neruda on the Park is the book we need and the reason I read.”—Angie Cruz, author of Dominicana
“Cleyvis Natera is a writer to watch. Her excellent debut novel is lyrical, absorbing, and slyly funny.”—Jenny Offill, New York Times bestselling author of Weather
“Cleyvis Natera’s novel, Neruda on the Park, is a powerful and complex portrait of a Diaspora community. A compelling novel with the grit of Gloria Naylor’s The Women of Brewster Place, the fierce insights of The Awakening, and exploration of immigrant mothers and daughters of Joy Luck Club. The Guerrero women combat the forces that threaten to destroy them, forces often lodged deep within their own communities and selves. An exploration of home and the ways the concept of where we belong divides, unites, evolves, and transforms us. Natera is the real thing: a guerrera on paper, a warrior storyteller, who had me in her thrall from beginning to end. A novel that speaks to so many of the current challenges confronting our global community and does so with generosity, moral imagination, grace, and—never to be downplayed—wickedly good, page-turning storytelling.”—Julia Alvarez, author of How the García Girls Lost Their Accents, In the Time of the Butterflies, In the Name of Salomé, and Afterlife
“Armed with wit and a warm sense of humor, Cleyvis Natera deftly scales questions as huge as the luxury building that looms over her characters’ lives. But pulsing at the heart of Neruda on the Park is a story more intimate, tender, and timeless—about a mother, her daughter, and what secrets slip through the cracks in their bond….A beautifully observed and propulsive debut.”—Dawnie Walton, author of The Final Revival of Opal & Nev
“Neruda on the Park is a wondrous debut. There’s so much to love: the propulsive story, the indelible characters—I can’t remember any more memorable, more richly drawn, than Luz and Eusebia—the vivid portrait of the lives of Dominican immigrants. Cleyvis Natera’s novel, which artfully, imaginatively, convincingly explores home and the lengths one goes to protect it, love and womanhood, class and the promise of the American dream, is a compelling, crucial work of fiction.”—Mitchell S. Jackson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Survival Math
“Neruda on the Park is a lush, beautifully layered look at class, culture, and change. Natera’s prose is intricate, tender, and perfectly calibrated—the Guerrero family will stay with me forever. This is a tremendous debut novel from a profoundly gifted writer.”—Kimberly King Parsons, National Book Award longlisted author of Black Light
“Neruda on the Park is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. This is the unforgettable story of a family and community under threat, and a mother and daughter just beginning to truly see each other. It is as poignant and perceptive as it is sexy and thrilling, the rare book that manages to be chilling and fun and profound all at once….A remarkable feat of imagination from a wholly original writer.” —Naima Coster, New York Times bestselling author of What’s Mine and Yours