Dominicana is chock-full of sociological insights on immigrant experiences, such as its depiction of the fluidity between power and powerlessness, and how the wounded pride of immigrant men in the public arena is reclaimed within the home through hyper-masculinity and physical abuse ... It’s as if the novel doesn’t allow us to hate Juan for his infidelity and abuse, because we understand how he, too, was forced into marriage and into the role of a family’s savior ... It’s a novel that dares you to put it down, that rings with truth in every page while it entertains and offers tender and heart-wrenching moments in equal measure ... Dominicana tells the story of the hollowed-out woman; it gives shape and shadow to a narrative that has been erased and recalls other stories of immigrant women to mind in a way that feels like a long-overdue acknowledgement of all women with similar experiences.
... an intimate portrait of the transactional nature of marriage and the economics of both womanhood and citizenship, one all too familiar to many first-generation Americans ... There are limits to Cruz’s choice to narrate Dominicana from Ana’s present-tense perspective; at times the novel ventures into scenes that Ana can’t possibly know about. While we’re sometimes told she’s piecing these together from conversations she’s overheard, more often such moments briefly pull us out of the dream of Ana’s otherwise compelling voice. That said, this temporary disorientation only brings the reader closer to Ana’s own disoriented consciousness ... There’s a lovely implication in this weaving of the lives swirling around [Ana's] own: the sense that Ana’s story is playing out time and again in other apartments, other buildings, other neighborhoods across this country, across centuries.
Cruz writes with warmth, empathy and remarkable perception about the immigrant experience. Engaging and illuminating, Dominicana will appeal to readers who’ve enjoyed novels by Sandra Cisneros and Julia Alvarez.