"It's 2017, and Olga and her brother, Pedro "Prieto" Acevedo, are bold-faced names in their hometown of New York. Prieto is a popular congressman representing their gentrifying Latinx neighborhood in Brooklyn while Olga is the tony wedding planner for Manhattan's powerbrokers.
Despite their alluring public lives, behind closed doors things are far less rosy. Sure, Olga can orchestrate the love stories of the 1%, but she can't seem to find her own...until she meets Matteo, who forces her to confront the effects of long-held family secrets...
Twenty-seven years ago, their mother, Blanca, a Young Lord-turned-radical, abandoned her children to advance a militant political cause, leaving them to be raised by their grandmother. Now, with the winds of hurricane season, Blanca has come barreling back into their lives.
Set against the backdrop of New York City in the months surrounding the most devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico's history, Olga Dies Dreaming is a story that examines political corruption, familial strife and the very notion of the American dream--all while asking what it really means to weather a storm."
Zoom information (and possible hybrid meeting details) will be provided closer to the planned meeting: 12:00pm-1:00pm, July 20, 2022.
1. Family is an essential thread in this story and we see this through different lenses—whether it’s Olga cunningly providing napkins for Mabel’s wedding or whether it’s Prieto rooting Olga on from the sidelines. Which of these moments resonated with you and why?
2. Evaluate Olga and Prieto’s relationship with Blanca. How does their sense of self change as their relationship with their mother evolves throughout the novel?
3. The landfall of Hurricane Maria is crucial to the overarching plot, especially as we witness the lack of U.S. intervention in the aftermath. How does Gonzalez bring the discourse around aid and relief to the forefront of this novel through her characters?
4. The characters in this novel have all experienced large traumas. What are some of the healthy and unhealthy ways they have moved past them?
5. Share your thoughts on the novel’s ending. Could things have turned out differently for Olga and Prieto? What about Blanca and Mateo?