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Alicia Maldonado: A Mother Lost
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Title: Alicia Maldonado: A Mother Lost

Author: Ardain Isma

Publisher: iUniverse; (January 2004)

Genre: Non-fiction

ISBN: 0595303218

Hardcover / Paperback: 286 pages

$17.95 / $27.95
Rating: Highly Recommended


August 25, 2004


Based on a true story, Ardain Isma tells the turmoil surrounding one family forced to flee Havana, Cuba to escape political unrest during the Batista Regime of the 1940’s.


Miguel Maldonado along with his wife, Elena, and their two children, Mario, and Alicia settle in Haiti.


The Maldonado’s are wealthy real-estate owners and all adjust to this change except, Alicia. She is quite homesick and a loner who has trouble learning the language, as well as adapting to Haiti’s diverse culture.


Alicia and their neighbor’s son, Richard, of mulatta descent become fast friends at a young age. Their friendship grows to love and they eventually marry. The mixed couple overcomes racial and cultural differences, and blessed with two daughters. Then Richard dies, and Alicia falls into a deep depression.


Sometime later Alicia remarries a devout Haitian Military Officer, who is divorced with two children of his own. This blended family then has two additional children. But suddenly, Alicia is slapped in the face with her husband’s infidelity. She is unable to come to terms with Georges unfaithfulness. Along with her youngest son, Jean-Marie, Alicia disappears without a trace,


Twelve years go by, before fate intervenes, and Alicia is face to face with the family she walked out on.


I thoroughly enjoyed this tear-jerking, tragic drama of life gone wrong by the choices we make. Moreover, I commend the author for his depictions of raw emotions displayed by the characters. BRAVO Mr. Ardain Isma!



  Reviewed by Juanita Reynolds


Purchase a copy today!


An Interview with Isma Ardain



To start this off, why don't you give an idea of what the book is about?


This book is a multicultural novel based on a true story. It traces the life of Alicia Maldonado, a beautiful young woman born in Cuba, raised in an upper aristocratic life style in Haiti. The book takes Alicia from her privilege upbringing in Haiti to her final battle with cancer, chronicling her desperate search for love, happiness and, ultimately, forgiveness.  




Where did you grow up and was reading and writing a part of your life?


I grew up Haiti. When I was 10 years old, I became fascinated with poetry and literature. I attended primary school at the Catholic Brothers in the town of Saint Louis, on Haiti’s northern coast where students were always encouraged to read, write, and recite their poems at the regular Friday afternoon poetry contest. I wasn’t always the winner, but I did win a few times. Whether I won or not, my teacher always seemed to be pleased with the uniqueness of my poems, describing my profound attachment to my Haitian heritage.  Later, as I became older and more matured while living in Port-au-Prince, I joined my neighborhood youth club to do just that: writing small French romantic poems and essays that I would later share with my colleagues who were always joyful listening to me, reciting my poems.       


Who were your earliest influences and why?

In the beginning, I was greatly influenced by early Haitian authors like Coriolan Ardrouin, Oswald Durand and Etzer Vilaire for their impressive style of describing nature and the Haitian landscape. Later, I fell in love with the marvelous realism of Jacques Stephen Alexis, Alejo Carpentier, Ernest Hemingway and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Reading these authors, I have discovered that Lo Real Maravilloso, Le Realisme Merveilleux or the Marvelous Realism is the highest and most brilliant form of literature, describing, through novelistic prose, the breathtaking charms of mankind: his joy and pain, his hope and despair, his love and hate etc…. (for more info, please read my article published by Justresponse.net last week on the role of the contemporary novel)  



What would a typical day be like for a writer?


For a writer, especially a writer who writes fiction, a typical day is one that allows him or her the magic moment necessary to be able to write a few lines. A write always deals with unfinished projects that he or she desperately wants to get done. 




How long have you been writing and in what capacities?


As I said before, I have been writing for quite some times. As a professional writer, I have been doing so for the past five years, writing for the Haitian Times, the Unspoken, some community papers, and, just recently, Justresponse.




Which is more difficult to write - Fiction or nonfiction and why?


As a college professor, I must say that both literary genres are not easy to write. However, I found that writing fiction is a bit easier. It gives someone, myself in particular, the freewheeling joy while creating a masterpiece.  




Has there ever been a time when you wanted to throw in the towel and give up? And if so, how did you defeat those instincts?


The feeling of giving up attempted to wrap my soul more than just one time. I was able to chase it away each time because I am a man of great conviction. I know perseverance is the key to success. It’s not easy to penetrate the corporate media and finally get accepted as a “mainstream” author. But as long as I am alive, I will continue to fight along with other independent authors until our emblematic works are loudly heard, admired and cherished.  




What is the hardest part about being a writer?


Acceptance. It requires a lot of work. A writer needs an army of publicists to make his work heard.




Do you have any hobbies? What are they? How do they enhance your writing?


I love reading. I read a lot, from nonfiction to fiction, to newspapers etc.. That helps me a lot with my ability to think and write. When I’m not reading, I’m listening to my Caribbean music or being at the gym, working out with my wife.  




Articles and media alike make it sound as though the only way to rise to the top is to sacrifice. What do you find to be good sacrifices?


To me, good sacrifices are the tireless efforts put forth by an author to get his or her works accepted while still maintains his integrity and the integrity of his or her works.




What question do you get asked more than any other?


“How much money have you already made from your book?” It sounds silly. However, it’s a false perception that the public really has. 




What’s the coolest thing a reader has said to you?


“You have the magic touch. You create a feeling of awe in my heart.”




What has been your feedback from readers? What do they say to you about their interpretations of your book?


“I love your book. I couldn’t stop crying when I read your story. As if you were talking to me, personally.” I hear that almost everyday from people who read my book and my other works.




Do you think that as a writer you are more prone to watching what goes on around you and observing behaviors than most people are?


I strongly think so. As a writer, somehow to think you’ve become the guiding light of society.




Who are some of the authors you consider to be "don't miss"?


Ardain Isma, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jacques Stephen Alexis, Maya Angelou.




If one were looking to start his/her own career as a writer, what would you suggest his/her first step to be?


First, It would be to start as a columnist in a local newspaper. Second, try to work your way up.




What kind of movies do you enjoy?


I rarely go to the movies. I only enjoy political movies.




What is your favorite city to visit, but one that you wouldn’t want to live in?


Paris is my favorite city to visit. However, I would not want to live there because of French history in relation to Haiti’s.




What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked in an interview?


“Why did you write a book about someone who is white?” It hurts me each time I am asked that obviously absurd question. In my writings, I never see color. 




What’s the best part of being a writer?


The best part is to be able to meet and heard them telling you how much you have impacted their lives. That is the best accomplishment for a writer.




What's next?


I’m currently working on two projects: an essay on ethnic conflicts around the world and a biographical novel on the life of Jacques Stephen Alexis, assassinated in 1961 by the Creole fascists in Haiti. The latter project will take me to Paris later this month in order to meet Alexis old comrades and family members.




Our time with Mr. Ardain has been most interesting. His desires are great and Betsie's Literary Page only wishes he reaches them. Here's to your success Isma!