Christina García’s novel, The Agüero Sisters follows the lives of sisters Constancia and Reina Agüero, two Cuban women who sit on different ends of the spectrum. Reina is a strong independent electrician and is built like a model, whereas Constancia desires to be taken care of and is much more petite and fair-skinned than her sister. The novel begins with the death of their mother, Blanca Mestre, and flips back and forth from present day to the past. The piece is mostly told by an omniscient third person narrator, but also uses first person narration in chapters narrated by their father, Ignacio Agüero. One of the primary conflicts in the novel is the relationship between the sisters, that of which has been affected by their mother’s domineering presence and their father’s submissive nature. To elaborate, Constancia’s disdain for her mother stems from the fact that Blanca once abandoned Constancia and her father, only to return beaten and pregnant with her sister, Reina. We also see Blanca’s authoritarian presence when she sends Constancia away after Reina is born. Blanca does not like how Constancia acts towards Reina and decides she must go. Ignacio does not argue against this decision. Additional hints at Blanca’s strong will can be seen when Ignacio speaks of her as well. He tells us, “The first time Blanca Mestre walked into my biology class…she sent a shiver through the room. There was something about her presence–quiet,luminescent, distracted — that stirred people, although it did not induce them to get close to her” (Garcia 182).
Of the strategies used in this piece of fiction García’s symbolism I believe is the most captivating.The author for instance uses colors like blue to tie Constancia (who lives in the states) and her sister Reina (who lives in Cuba) to the island of Cuba which is surrounded by the Atlantic ocean. She also uses white to symbolize innocence and black to symbolize decay. These symbols are what thread all of the chapters together and really give the reader an understanding of how the Agüero’s relate to one another. If you love a well-honed piece of fiction, pick this novel up. You won’t be disappointed.
— Andrea Rodriguez, Blogger.
Andrea Rodriguez’s Bio
Andrea Rodriguez is a senior at Lewis University. Prior to attending Lewis, she completed her associates at the College of DuPage. Rodriguez is studying English Literature in order to pursue a career as an academic librarian. As for her interests, Andrea loves spending time with her family, being in nature, taking care of her plants, writing, cooking, and traveling when she can. Andrea also enjoys exploring unique writing styles. Some of her favorite pieces include The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson and “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid. In addition to being a fiction/poetry editor for Jet Fuel Review, Rodriguez is the editor-in-chief of Lewis Voices, and the administrative director for Sigma Tau Delta, of which she is also a member.