In the Time of the Americans
by Oswald Rivera
In the Time of the Americans tells the multigenerational story of two families, the lusty Benitez family and the reserved, methodical Walkers, and how different perceptions and myths will lead to the inescapable repetition of events grounded in the history of both clans. The tale begins with the doomed love affair of Emile Walker and Maria Benítez Izquierdo, and how this episode affects both families’ fortunes and misfortunes with the rise of the American century in the Caribbean. It is a unique family saga rooted in the present, but anchored to the past. Important actions and historical events chronicle the changes of an age: from outhouses to cinemas, from horse carriages to the automobile, from apparitions floating on cobblestone streets to urban conflicts, each supplanted in turn by new dreams and illusions. The story captures unusual characters and extraordinary events that involve generations of men and women who are unable or unwilling to escape their shared destinies. It is a narrative replete with an American invasion, ghosts of the past and the present, ideological illusions, cyclical upheavals, the arrival of new technologies with the American presence, glories and disasters, and, ultimately, redemption.