. . . reviews, awards, and interviews with Cubawriter . . .
ACCLAIM for LUZ
FOREWORD REVIEWS (4 STARS OUT OF 5) (February 2014)
A hefty, surprising, and absorbing exploration of faith, both in political and divine redemption. Written with verve and sensitivity, Gonzalez crafts a humorous Cuban tale full of unexpected twists and rich characterizations, and whose surprises reward the suspension of disbelief. While sections devoted to God’s conversations with his son in Heaven provide both levity and space for theological considerations, readers who enjoy the strangeness of this humorous and theological first installment will certainly look forward to future adventures.
KIRKUS REVIEWS (February 2014)
Gonzalez is a strong, sometimes idiosyncratic prose-stylist particularly adept at capturing the clash of idealism and futility that marks this period of Cuba’s history . . . Gonzalez’s considerable storytelling prowess is most fully realized in a chapter devoted to the backstories of Rigo and Clara’s father. Here, flashbacks allow the story to move along while capturing the heartbreak of intellectual yearning snuffed out by an oppressive bureaucratic regime.
MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW (March 2014)
Luz is a highly charged saga of change and spirituality. The result is a striking, captivating, and dense read that unfolds like a flower and blossoms with a predestined heroine whose mother’s world collapses and rises again from the fires of destruction, like a phoenix. Readers who appreciate a fine blend of spiritual and social insight, all held together by the glue of a feisty young protagonist surviving a Third World country, will find Luz a gripping, evocative story.
PALMETTO REVIEW (March 2014)
Gonzalez tells his epic tale with notable depth and compassion, as well as an intimate and abiding knowledge of Castro’s Cuba, allowing the reader to feel Clara’s anguish at being forced to make a seemingly impossible sacrifice no matter which path she chooses. Gonzalez writes seamlessly, allowing the reader to get lost in the world he creates, paying off all his premises with satisfying results.Luz is a heart-wrenching but ultimately hopeful tale of sacrifice and discovery — one of those few moments when both story and storytelling are of equal grandeur.
SAN FRANCISCO BOOK REVIEW (FOUR OUT OF FIVE) (June 2014)
Gonzalez relies on a heavily stylized form of storytelling in order to blend the epic with the everyday. Gonzalez takes his time to let you into Clara’s mind as her life changes and priorities shift in an attempt to remind us that at the heart of every epic story, there lies the human heart. It is very rare to come across an author who attempts a story of this scale, but keeps the humanity of his characters firmly in place. A truly worthwhile read.
PORTLAND BOOK REVIEW (April 2014)
The novel is so strongly written, so well written, that one can easily focus on a story told from the perspective of an intelligent headstrong young woman whose life, like so many of our lives, takes a turn quite opposite of what she had intended and does so with miraculous results.
PENN BOOK REVIEW (March 2014)
Masterfully written fiction that simply cannot be overlooked. This is a fresh writer with a great voice. The only disappointment for readers, perhaps, will be the cliffhanger, and surprisingly wonderful ending. Gonzalez is aptly skilled in the art of “teasing” readers from the beginning in order to capture attention, and move the story into unforeseen territories. Intelligently written and very exciting. One of the best novels in the Latin American and Hispanic genre to date.