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How to Leave Hialeah

Jennine Capó Crucet

Publication Year: 2009

United in their fierce sense of place and infused with the fading echoes of a lost homeland, the stories in Jennine Capó Crucet’s striking debut collection do for Miami what Edward P. Jones does for Washington, D.C., and what James Joyce did for Dublin: they expand our ideas and our expectations of the city by exposing its tough but vulnerable underbelly.

Crucet’s writing has been shaped by the people and landscapes of South Florida and by the stories of Cuba told by her parents and abuelos. Her own stories are informed by her experiences as a Cuban American woman living within and without her community, ready to leave and ready to return, “ready to mourn everything.”

Coming to us from the predominantly Hispanic working-class neighborhoods of Hialeah, the voices of this steamy section of Miami shout out to us from rowdy all-night funerals and kitchens full of plátanos and croquetas and lechón ribs, from domino tables and cigar factories, glitter-purple Buicks and handed-down Mom Rides, private homes of santeras and fights on front lawns. Calling to us from crowded expressways and canals underneath abandoned overpasses shading a city’s secrets, these voices are the heart of Miami, and in this award-winning collection Jennine Capó Crucet makes them sing.

Published by: University of Iowa Press

Series: Iowa Short Fiction Award


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pp. vii

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Resurrection, or: The Story behind the Failure of the 2003 Radio Salsa 98.1 Semi-Annual Cuban and/or Puerto Rican Heritage Festival

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pp. 1-10

The church is quiet except for the nun’s approaching footsteps. You could imagine the sound of the soft soles of her shoes scuffing down the center aisle, coming toward the last pew, barely growing louder as they approach. Or you could imagine that someone has just finished playing an organ, practicing before ...

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El Destino Hauling

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pp. 11-25

I was raised to think of Tío Nando as just that—an uncle, part of that huge group of men who grew up with my father. When I realized that I also called his son, Fernandito, Tío, I asked my father how they could both be my uncles. I was eight then. My father fumbled with the domino stand in front of him. ...

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And in the Morning, Work

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pp. 26-41

Marielena thought she’d arrived early enough at the cigar factory to prevent such a thing, but again she found Niño sitting on the stool from which she read to the rollers—his legs open wide, feet flat on the floor, trying to take up her space. Several magazines sat on the rolling bench in front of him. ...

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The Next Move

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pp. 42-62

Two years before my wife Nilda died, she went back to Cuba against my wishes. I always said that I would never get on a plane again unless it was back to a free Cuba, which meant that in thirty-nine years of marriage, the only airplane Nilda and I had ever been on together was the flight that took us from Cuba, ...

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Animal Control

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pp. 63-68

He paced around the room, stepping over a box of Eddie’s things, which his mother and sister had packed up the day before while picking out the suit for Eddie to be buried in. The ferret, across the room and in its cage, clung to the wire mesh with its nails, awaiting the pronouncement of its fate. ...

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Noche Buena

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pp. 69-86

While my dad changed the oil in his brand new ’96 Chevy Tahoe, I asked him if I could ride out to the Christmas Eve party—or like he calls it, El Venticuatro—in my own car. This year, the holiday would take over my Tía Eva’s house, and I wanted to show off the car to my cousins. All of them had gotten stuck ...

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Low Tide

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pp. 87-100

They put their towels on the sand, which felt hard-packed beneath them. This part of Miami Beach was old, but like so much of Dade County, it still clung to the idea of glamour, choosing to ignore the years when police cars cruised right on the sand, pounding the shore worse than any natural wave. ...

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Men Who Punched Me in the Face

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pp. 101-115

The other guys on the football team called him Vick the Dick, and he said it was because he had a huge one, but I wouldn’t have known then since his was the first one I ever saw. Victor was half Cuban—half decent, my dad used to say— and half some sort of Venezuelan-Ecuadorian mix. ...

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Relapsing, Remitting

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pp. 116-135

Javier drove too fast to the university, making them thirty-five minutes early for his wife’s first appointment with the new doctor. Across the street from the campus medical complex was a small bakery, and they decided to grab a breakfast of Cuban coffee and toast. So they parked, and Javier walked around ...

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pp. 136-152

Rebeca led her brother to the canal she’d found two months earlier, a place that before that day she’d resolved never to tell him about. He’d called dibs on the bike they’d stolen from their cousins, so she was on foot. He rode next to her, standing on the pedals and circling around her as she jogged toward the canal. ...

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How to Leave Hialeah

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pp. 153-169

It is impossible to leave without an excuse—something must push you out, at least at first. You won’t go otherwise; you are happy, the weather is bright, and you have a car. It has a sunroof (which you call a moonroof—you’re so quirky) and a thunderous muffler. After fifteen years of trial and error, ...

E-ISBN-13: 9781587298790
E-ISBN-10: 1587298791
Print-ISBN-13: 9781587298165
Print-ISBN-10: 1587298163

Page Count: 184
Publication Year: 2009

Edition: paper
Series Title: Iowa Short Fiction Award

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  • Short stories. -- gsafd.
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