One Year of Ugly by Caroline Mackenzie

One Year of Ugly

Caroline Mackenzie

My eyes were on stalks as I read this story about a family of Venezuelan illegal immigrants living under the radar in Trinidad. The romance between Yola and Román is tenderly portrayed, the lush beauty of the island vividly evoked. Bawdy and irreverent? Perhaps. Nevertheless, it's a rare treat of a book which tackles some weighty issues in a very entertaining way.


I don't even know why I was surprised. Our immigrant story is as classic and unchanging as any Hans Christian Andersen fairytale - the tale of the illegal refugees who risked it all to live like cockroaches, hiding in the dank cracks of an unknown society where they hope no one will find them, antennae forever twitching, listening for the heavy boot of National Security, only to discover that the strange new place they call home has all the ugliness of the world they left behind, except worse, because here you're stripped of rights, dignity, personhood. Anyone can crush you under their heel, splatter your little roach innards, just like Ugly was doing to us.

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Explicit sexual content