In her lush, luminous debut novel, Merlinda Bobis creates a dazzling feast for all the senses. Richly imagined, gloriously written, Banana Heart Summer is an incandescent tale of food, family, and longing—at once a love letter to mothers and daughters and a lively celebration of friendship and community.
Twelve-year-old Nenita is hungry for everything: food, love, life. Growing up with five sisters and brothers, she searches for happiness in the magical smell of the deep-frying bananas of Nana Dora, who first tells Nenita the myth of the banana heart; in the tantalizing scent of Manolito, the heartthrob of Nenita and her friends; in the pungent aromas of the dishes she prepares for the most beautiful woman on Remedios Street. To Nenita, food is synonymous with love—the love she yearns to receive from her disappointed mother. But in this summer of broken hearts, new friendships, secrets, and discoveries, change will be as sudden and explosive as the monsoon that marks the end of the sweltering heat—and transforms Nenita’s young life in ways she could never imagine.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of History eBook: Banana Heart Summer|
|Release Date: 05-20-2008|
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|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||Banana Heart Summer|
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Banana Heart Summer
For those who love to love and eat
For those who long to love and eat
When we laid my baby sister in a shoebox, when all the banana hearts in our street were stolen, when Tiyo Anding stepped out of a window perhaps to fly, when I saw guavas peeking from Manolito's shorts and felt I'd die of shame, when Roy Orbison went as crazy as Patsy Cline and lovers eloped, sparking a scandal so fiery that even the volcano erupted and, as a consequence, my siblings tasted their first American corned beef, then Mother looked at me again, that was the summer I ate the heart of the matter.
So how did it all begin?
With this lesson about the banana heart from Nana Dora, the chef of all the sweet snacks that flavored our street every afternoon, except Sundays.
"Close to midnight, when the heart bows from its stem, wait for its first dew. It will drop like a gem. Catch it with your tongue. When you eat the heart of the matter, you'll never grow hungry again."
From the site of her remark, I will take you through a tour of our street and I will tell you its stories. Ay, my street of wishful sweets and spices. All those wishes to appease stomachs and make hearts fat with pleasure. And perhaps sweeten tempers or even spice up a storyteller's tongue.
Let's begin with appeasement, my first serious business venture long ago. Let's begin with a makeshift kitchen, a hut with no walls, under banana trees in bloom. Here, Nana Dora parked her fragrant wok at two in the afternoon. By three, the hungry queue began.
Turon: the melody
The sound of deep frying was a delectable melody. Instantly loud and aggr