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The Noise of Infinite Longing: A Memoir of a Family - and an Island    by Luisita Lopez Torregrosa order for
Noise of Infinite Longing
by Luisita Lopez Torregrosa
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2004 (2004)

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* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Luisita Lopez Torregrosa seduces readers into her memoir, The Noise of Infinite Longing, with elegant, lyrical prose. She describes family members, their shared experiences (both bad and good), romantic interludes, achievements and heartaches. She illuminates family living locations, transporting the reader to cities and towns in Puerto Rico, San Juan, Mexico, and Manila. The author shares a heartfelt collection of memories of grandparents, parents, siblings and extended family with affection, recounting the dynamics of family life from childhood to the present.

Family members have dispersed in different directions to countries not their own. The six siblings - Luisita, Angeles, Sara, Olga, Carmen and Amaury, Jr. - gather together for the first time in ten years, on the occasion of the funeral of their mother, Maria Luisa, in Texas. Maria, born into a high social class, was an accomplished woman - talented in the theater and in music, and with a law degree from the University of Puerto Rico. In her marriage to Amaury Torregrosa, she bonded to a man of a lower social class, with whom she had little in common. Amaury was employed as a chemical engineer with the army Corps of Engineers. He later traveled with his family from Puerto Rico on a medical scholarship to the University of Mexico. Torregrosa effectively leads readers back and forth between the present and a past, which includes the divorce of Maria from the philandering and abusive Amaury.

While living in Manila, the author speaks of Puerto Rico: 'For so many years I hadn't remembered much about the place, but the color blue, all the shades you see all over Latin America, and the noise that fills the spaces in those towns, the noise of people who explain their lives on the street, in bar corners, at the drugstore, "the noise of infinite longing".' The siblings gather together again in 2000 in Puerto Rico for the funeral of their father, seven years after the death of their mother. And life goes on ... time changes people and places, but memories stand still.

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