- The overprotective father of the four Garcia sisters. Carlos
also resisted the military dictatorship in the Dominican Republic.
As a result of his political activities, the family had to flee
to the United States.
in-depth analysis of Carlos.
- The mother of the four sisters. Laura had to adjust
to cultural and material differences in the United States. Her family
name and privilege meant much less in the U.S. than it had in the
Dominican Republic, though she continued to be proud and supportive
of her daughters.
in-depth analysis of Laura.
oldest of the Garcia sisters. Carla had the most difficulty adjusting
to school and the English language after the move to the U.S. She
grew up to be a psychologist.
in-depth analysis of Carla.
- The second oldest daughter. Sandi felt stifled and frustrated
as a child, and lost her artistic vision after she suffered a broken
arm. She had a mental breakdown as an adult.
in-depth analysis of Sandra.
- The rebellious tomboy of the family in the Dominican Republic,
though once in the U.S. she developed into a poet. Her difficulties
with men and a painful divorce led her into a mental breakdown as
in-depth analysis of Yolanda.
- The youngest daughter of the Garcia family. Sofia's wild
and rebellious streak came out during her adolescence, when she
challenged her father's authority and ran away to Germany to marry
in-depth analysis of Sofia.
favorite cousin asked her to prove she was a girl in exchange for
pink modeling clay when they were children. He later protected Sofia
and Manuel from getting into trouble for having sex.
boyfriend while she lived on the Island, also her illegitimate cousin
on her father's side of the family.
- An American CIA operative who arranges for Carlos
and his family to escape to the United States. He responds to the
code phrase "come get your tennis shoes," and likes to intimidate
the local police and sleep with young girls.
met Otto while traveling in Colombia. They fell in love, he wrote
her love letters, and she ran away from home to be with him in Germany.
Garcia family's Haitian maid in the Dominican Republic. She practices
voodoo and sleeps in a coffin.
family's Dominican maid was fired for accepting a toy bank from
Carla as a present.
friend of the family arranged for Carlos's medical fellowship and
helped the family out when they first arrived in the United States.
Carlos in the restroom of a Spanish restaurant during a celebratory
dinner. She also ruined Sandra's enjoyment of a flamenco act.
husband ceased to make sense to her and spoke only in a babbling
gibberish once she realized she did not love him anymore.
first boyfriend became frustrated because she did not want to have
sex. She felt very insecure because of her experience with him,
until she realized that he had been a jerk all along.
childhood art teacher disciplined her for disobedience instead of
encouraging her talent and enthusiasm for art.
Charito's insane sculptor husband terrified Sandra and made her
fall and break her arm. He later put her face on a statue of the
Alvarez's novel, this real life Dominican dictator lived next door
to the de la Torre compound, and took walks with his grandson through
the adjoining grounds. His secret police also threatened Carlos's
and others' lives.