The Affairs of the Falcóns

The Affairs of the Falcóns

Ana Falcón, along with her husband Lucho and their two young children, has fled the economic and political strife of Peru for a chance at a new life in New York City in the 1990s. Being undocumented, however, has significantly curtailed the family’s opportunities: Ana is indebted to a loan shark who calls herself Mama, and is stretched thin by unceasing shifts at her facto...

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Title:The Affairs of the Falcóns
Author:Melissa Rivero
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Affairs of the Falcóns Reviews

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

    Ana and Lucho Falcon, along with their two children, have fled the unrest of 1990s Peru for New York City; however, they are undocumented. This means they have far fewer opportunities to create a better life.

    Ana works long hours for little pay at a factory and owes a loan shark money. In addition, she and her family are living with Lucho’s cousin, and the welcome mat is being worn thin. The spare

    ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

    Ana and Lucho Falcon, along with their two children, have fled the unrest of 1990s Peru for New York City; however, they are undocumented. This means they have far fewer opportunities to create a better life.

    Ana works long hours for little pay at a factory and owes a loan shark money. In addition, she and her family are living with Lucho’s cousin, and the welcome mat is being worn thin. The spare room will no longer be available to them. At the same time, the loan shark is getting more upset about the lack of payments.

    Desperation builds for Ana. She wants to stay in United States while Lucho dreams of going home. Her family is in more financial and physical danger here than she ever anticipated. How far is she willing to go to continue her efforts at a new life for her family?

    The Affairs of the Falcons is a timely look at immigration, including those who live here with fear, stress, and abject desperation. This book is so insightful, so honest and raw, I felt the stress along with the family. One domino after another starts to line up and then topple for this family. Can they ever get the momentum of that to not only stop, but to turn around and have a chance at a successful and base level need, safe, life?

    While I felt some of the feelings of the family because they are so well-drawn by the author, I could never truly know that fear, that hunger. My heart broke over and over for the Falcons. In an attempt to leave terrorism in their own country, they came to a new country where one intense fear was replaced by another.

    Overall, The Affairs of the Falcons is a memorable and powerful story that left an indelible mark on me.

    I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

    My reviews can also be found on my blog:

  • Angela M

    Immigration, given the current political climate is such a relevant issue, not just for those who are risking their lives to get here, but those already here . This story focuses on a family already here, an undocumented family . How can we possibly know the experience without having experienced it ? How can we possibly understand the stress, the fear, the desperation to make a comfortable life for your children when you can’t afford a decent apartment ? How can we know how difficult it is to k

    Immigration, given the current political climate is such a relevant issue, not just for those who are risking their lives to get here, but those already here . This story focuses on a family already here, an undocumented family . How can we possibly know the experience without having experienced it ? How can we possibly understand the stress, the fear, the desperation to make a comfortable life for your children when you can’t afford a decent apartment ? How can we know how difficult it is to keep a job even though you have falsified papers ? How can we know how overwhelming it is that you make unwise decisions and do whatever it takes because you want to keep your family together? Or what it might be like to have to see a pharmacist for the medical needs of you and your children because you can’t take them to a doctor who might ask too many questions ? Or go to a loan shark who holds your fate in their hands in a way each time they refuse to loan you more money? You can read a book like this which does an amazing job of depicting that experience and gives a feel for what it might be like to want to escape terrorism or even the military in your home country. I’ll never truly know any of this, but I’m glad to have read this book which gave me a better understanding. This heartbreaking debut is definitely worth reading.

    I received an advanced copy of this book from Ecco/HarperCollins through Edelweiss.

  • ♥ Sandi ❣

    4 stars Thank you to BookBrowse and Ecco for allowing me to read and review this ARC. Expected publication April 2, 2019.

    Unsettled, desperate and heart wrenching, this story takes us into the lives of one undocumented immigrant family. Afraid to go home and afraid to stay, the Falcons are left living off family, struggling to find work, learning the language, avoiding crime and fitting into their new world. Turning to a loan shark Ana fears her undocumented status, along with the horrors she mus

    4 stars Thank you to BookBrowse and Ecco for allowing me to read and review this ARC. Expected publication April 2, 2019.

    Unsettled, desperate and heart wrenching, this story takes us into the lives of one undocumented immigrant family. Afraid to go home and afraid to stay, the Falcons are left living off family, struggling to find work, learning the language, avoiding crime and fitting into their new world. Turning to a loan shark Ana fears her undocumented status, along with the horrors she must face to remain in the United States. Looking for opportunity, running from danger, and striving to fit in, this story is the epitome of the immigrant population in today's world.

    Rivero's debut book has hit the heart of the plight of the immigrant population of today. She sees the obstacles and demands of the undocumented. She writes of their hopes and strong will, their struggles and fears, their tenacity to move above life's hardships and to push forward when that path is nothing but hard work and uncertainty. If Rivero continues to hit the mark, as she has done in this book, she will be an author in great demand.

  • Diane S ☔

    They came from Peru, settled in New York City, hoping to get lost in the crowds. They are some of the invisible people we encounter often, those that work the grills in our restaurants, do our landscaping,cwork in our factories and warehouses, clean our houses. Do all the jobs we no longer want to do. They are the undocumented, those without legal status in our country. For Ana and her husband, two children, it is a place where one can start over, have an opportunity , escape the censor and dang

    They came from Peru, settled in New York City, hoping to get lost in the crowds. They are some of the invisible people we encounter often, those that work the grills in our restaurants, do our landscaping,cwork in our factories and warehouses, clean our houses. Do all the jobs we no longer want to do. They are the undocumented, those without legal status in our country. For Ana and her husband, two children, it is a place where one can start over, have an opportunity , escape the censor and danger in their home country.

    Yet there is always the threats of deportation, of working so hard but for little money, of having to count every penny, of borrowing money, and then owing a harsh master. Where every little thing that goes wrong could spell disaster. Having to live with a family member and her family because you can not afford your own place. A family that doesn't want you there. Still, Ana is ever hopeful, if she could just work a few more hours, if her husband driving a cab could get a few additional pick ups. If, if, if.

    Ana is strong, tough, determined to keep her family together, but there are truths here she doesnt see, until it might be too late. This book shows how perilous are the positions of those who come to our country, without papers, without green cards. How tenuous is their position, how careful they must be in the choices and the decisions they make. A very poignant story about a woman who is determined to succeed despite all the obstacles before her. A very humsn woman who only wants the same things we all do, a safe place to live, enough food, and a sense of security, a family. It also shows how easily these people are preyed on, how many willing to take advantage of those trying do hard but in need.

    Quite a story, one that certainly made an impression on me, one not easily forgotten.

    ARC from book browse.

  • Ann (Inky)

    One of the best debuts I've ever read. Had me hooked by the first sentence (it's about a little girl slaughtering a chicken).

    A blurb on the back of the book calls

    "a book we urgently need now", a take which I very much agree with as I sit here turning the final page.

    : all of their heartaches, their disappointments, their paranoia, their fears

    One of the best debuts I've ever read. Had me hooked by the first sentence (it's about a little girl slaughtering a chicken).

    A blurb on the back of the book calls

    "a book we urgently need now", a take which I very much agree with as I sit here turning the final page.

    : all of their heartaches, their disappointments, their paranoia, their fears; their hopes and their dreams, too, colorfully told in prose that is both readable and full of boundless emotion on every level.

    When we see and hear about families torn apart at the US-Mexican border, or elsewhere in the world, our hearts sigh, but it soon passes as we continue on with our own lives, our own troubles. On a planet so desensitized to violence, the victims and their stories fade and blend together--a refugee woman being reunited with her trauma-sickened child--another sad statistic soon forgotten by most of the world.

    Whether in our own backyards or on the other side of the world, the very least we can do is listen to their stories, and and not let them be forgotten. By reading Ana's story, though fictional, I was knocked right off of my "white privilege box" and was reminded of how lucky I really am, despite my own struggles.

    Despite the major differences between Ana and myself, I found it easy to slip into her shoes. Her inner dialogue, when taken out of context, often synced up with my own. She has a quiet fierceness flowing through her motherly instincts, like a jungle cat ready to pounce, only when absolutely necessary.

    I feel a little insignificant after finishing this novel, but I rather suppose that is one of its points:

    There are no

    , no one is neither

    nor legal.

  • Kara Leann

    This book was impossible to put down. Ana Falcon was such a surprising and intriguing character that I was immediately immersed in her and her family's story. I thought Melissa Rivero did a fabulous job portraying the sacrifices and difficulties that immigrants in Ana's situation might face. I definitely recommend this to everyone looking to further their understanding of what it takes to migrate to the US and establish a new life here.

    Thanks to Ecco and Harper Collins for providing an advanced

    This book was impossible to put down. Ana Falcon was such a surprising and intriguing character that I was immediately immersed in her and her family's story. I thought Melissa Rivero did a fabulous job portraying the sacrifices and difficulties that immigrants in Ana's situation might face. I definitely recommend this to everyone looking to further their understanding of what it takes to migrate to the US and establish a new life here.

    Thanks to Ecco and Harper Collins for providing an advanced copy via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)

    Fleeing violence in Peru in the 1990s, Ana and her family live as undocumented migrants in NYC. Every day in her life is a struggle. Financial struggles occupy most of Ana’s life, but there is also the struggle to come to terms with her mother and father’s deaths and learn to trust anyone but herself. This is not a feel-good story, but it does highlight the determination and hope of some immigrant families. Great writing and sharp dialogue. 3.5⭐ rounded up.

    Fleeing violence in Peru in the 1990s, Ana and her family live as undocumented migrants in NYC. Every day in her life is a struggle. Financial struggles occupy most of Ana’s life, but there is also the struggle to come to terms with her mother and father’s deaths and learn to trust anyone but herself. This is not a feel-good story, but it does highlight the determination and hope of some immigrant families. Great writing and sharp dialogue. 3.5⭐️ rounded up.

  • Anna Luce

    ★★★✰✰ 3 stars

    . There might have been two instances which didn't make me feel anxious or sad.

    . Rivero has an ear for the way in which people speak, for rendering with terrifying realism those fraught and tense pauses that fill an argument or a conversation, and for depicting the hesitancy that might make its way into one's words.

    On the other hand,

    ★★★✰✰ 3 stars

    . There might have been two instances which didn't make me feel anxious or sad.

    . Rivero has an ear for the way in which people speak, for rendering with terrifying realism those fraught and tense pauses that fill an argument or a conversation, and for depicting the hesitancy that might make its way into one's words.

    On the other hand,

    . I find this particular writing style very hit or miss:

    . If I was distressed by Ana Falcón's situation it was not because I really cared or believed in Ana as a character but because I am not completely heartless.

    . For instance, I knew that Ana was angry not because the narration shows us why and how she is angry but because we are told that she smacks the sofa she is sitting on. The narrative style was too passive and unattached for my taste (hopefully other readers won't be as bothered by this).

    Certainly, I did not think that Ana should get along with her husband or with his family but why should her friendship be so very...

    ?

    The women in this novel are

    with each other's husbands, they are judgemental about each other, and they seem to be anything but 'friends'. There were two moments (both of which occur in a mere sentence) that showed that Ana's friends did seem to care for her.

    Still,

    . Sadly,

    All of the characters share not only the same 'mood' but the same sort of underwhelming personality.

    : we have Ana entering a house or building, she has a confrontation of some sort with one character, one of them leaves the room. Characters kept telling Ana off for something or other, and she is unable to make a valid argument in self-defence.

    I listened to this novel with

    , in a

    , and

    .

    Part of me wishes that I had read (or listened) to this novel, not because this story is not important (and it has a lot of frighteningly realistic situations) but because it is told in such an unaffected, almost uncaring, way.

  • Donna

    I liked this story. Immigrants from Peru (some legal, some not) move to New York City to find the American dream. But they realize it isn't easy, especially when they are preyed upon by their own kind.

    There was a lot of telling in this novel, instead of showing. Even with that though, some of this was beautifully written. I liked the authors use of words as times. I liked this one, but I didn't love it....so 3 stars.

  • Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship

    2.5 stars

    There’s a real dearth of books about undocumented Spanish-speaking immigrants in the United States. I read in large part to learn about other people’s experiences, and this is a community that’s so nearby and yet so foreign to most Americans. I think what I really want is a popular ethnography – something like

    , but more representative; something like

    , but about undocumented immigrants – but memoirs, and fiction by people who know what they’re talking about

    2.5 stars

    There’s a real dearth of books about undocumented Spanish-speaking immigrants in the United States. I read in large part to learn about other people’s experiences, and this is a community that’s so nearby and yet so foreign to most Americans. I think what I really want is a popular ethnography – something like

    , but more representative; something like

    , but about undocumented immigrants – but memoirs, and fiction by people who know what they’re talking about, can be great too.

    So I came to this book with great hopes: it’s about a family of undocumented Peruvian immigrants living in New York in the mid-90s, written by an author who was an undocumented Peruvian immigrant herself as a child. And if this book helps other readers to better understand and sympathize with people in the characters’ situations, then that is a wonderful thing. But this one didn’t work for me as literature, and frankly I wound up not really understanding or sympathizing much with its protagonist either.

    The book covers about a month in the life of Ana, a 27-year-old married mother of two who is determined to make a life for herself and her family in New York, but faces serious financial difficulties and family strife. She, her husband Lucho, and their 6-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son, are currently living in one room in Lucho’s cousin’s apartment; unfortunately the cousin has never liked Ana, Lucho has recently lost his job, and when Ana discovers she’s accidentally pregnant again, she knows they can’t afford it.

    Unfortunately, the characters and writing are flat. Nobody has much personality, though everyone – Ana included – has a nasty tendency to kick everyone else when they’re down; I wasn’t sure whether this was meant to be an unfortunate result of their poverty and long-term stress or just a cheap technique to keep enough conflict in the book to tell a story with, but it tended to feel like the latter. It’s a quick, easy read, but the writing is bland, and though everyone is supposedly speaking Spanish, it doesn’t feel like it; characters say things like “Yes, I do,” which don’t really translate (Spanish doesn’t use the helping verb “do”). The plot is lacking too, mostly consisting of Ana going around arguing with her friends, family, and neighborhood loan shark. And the writing has a tendency to over-explain concepts and feelings in a very simplified way.

    Then there’s Ana, our protagonist, who is by turns baffling and unsympathetic. Ana grew up poor, in a small village, is of mostly indigenous descent, and seems to have little education, yet is inexplicably married to Lucho, who grew up privileged in Lima, is of Spanish descent and college-educated and a professional. Predictably, the two don’t understand each other or communicate at all, and I was never convinced by Ana’s insistence that at some point they’d fallen in love; their marriage seemed more like a device to educate readers about differences of class and ethnicity within Peru than a real relationship. Ana doesn’t understand why Lucho would care about having a fulfilling job rather than doing menial labor, and seems to see this as a frivolous desire; meanwhile she doesn’t consult him about major decisions affecting their marriage, then becomes enraged when he doesn’t appreciate the sacrifices she’s kept to herself. I didn’t understand why Lucho would have agreed to immigrate illegally in the first place – couldn’t he have gotten a visa to go to Spain, as his brother did? – especially since this leaves their kids, too, leading an insecure existence when his background might have afforded them better opportunities back home. As the family’s problems compound and their reasons for being in the U.S. are stripped away, it seems as if Ana prefers to make her whole family third-class non-citizens in New York rather than being a second-class citizen by herself in Peru. Aside from all that, she just comes across as an unpleasant person; for instance, when the cousin’s husband – who is consistently kind to her and sticks up for her to his villainous wife – confesses that his wife can be abusive, her response is an internal tirade about how he, with his own home and money, has no right to feel sorry for himself, and she hopes his kids will abandon him (sure, he had an affair, but yikes).

    So, overall, this book was a quick read but didn’t do much for me, and features characters who seem unrepresentative of undocumented immigrants in ways that make them less sympathetic. It didn't help that I got the sense we were supposed to take Ana's side and see her as a heroine instead of the deeply flawed and difficult person that she is, but even without that issue, this book is awfully simplistic. Hopefully someone else will tackle this topic more successfully.

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