VoceroNews/New Orleans : 4/9/04
"[This] prize-winning novel gripes you from the first paragraph .. .
Mary Helen Lagasse's words communicate; they get under the skin to
assure us that Mercedes--her Mercedes--is alive on every page,
in every evocation..." (translated from the Spanish)
O. Times-Picayune: 4/11/04
"Lagasse not only tells an epic story of courage and the ongoing
struggle to achieve spiritual wholeness, she has the epic storyteller's
sense of pace and understands the conflict between the human will and
the fates." (Mary McKay chairwoman Loyola University English Dept.)
Library Journal: 4/15/24)
"Lagasse recalls the socially realistic novels of John Steinbeck
and Edward Dahlberg with this stark unadorned prose
portrait. Recommended for all large fiction collections and libraries
serving Hispanic communities . . ."
"Lagasse has woven a tale of the American story. It may not be the story
you’re used to hearing, but is one you should read. In 336 pages,
Mercedes suffers a series of ups and downs, decisions and indecisions,
and is ultimately transformed from a helpless girl into a heroine whose
life isn’t to be pitied or despised, but honored. When you’re ready to
honor Mercedes, grab your copy of The Fifth Sun."
Los Angeles Times 4/29/04)
"Lagasse's writing is vibrant with a mélange of New Orleans and Mexican
zest. . . . The Fifth Sun illuminates in piquant, visceral
terms, the struggle of humankind to achieve spiritual growth amid
LaPrensa/New Orleans: 05/04 "Lagasse
paints a moving portrait of early 20th century Mexican immigrants and
the tough choices they face to protect their family, lives, and
Booklist : 05/04 "
Lagasse's engaging debut novel is packed with period details and Mexican
folklore. This is a welcome addition to the increasingly popular genre
of immigration fiction, which can serve as a powerful antidote for
Publishers Weekly (5/14/04)
cited in "It-List" of English-language Latino authors.
BookViews: 07/ 2004
"This fast paced
novel accurately and movingly reflects the Mexican-American experience
and does so through a character you will root for from beginning to
Hartford Courant : 8/8/04
" A story of almost insurmountable challenges some immigrants face in
their struggle to escape poverty and the soul-destroying indignity it
brings . . . It is a story of what it takes to move beyond humiliation
and heartbreak to create a sense of home."
8/04 - (as
quoted from EFE, "world's 3rd largest news service")
"In her sophisticated writing, at once clear
and accessible, Lagasse narrates the immigrant experience, giving voice
to those who risk their lives crossing the frontier in search of a
better life . . . ."
County News (TX)
: 8/25/04 "The
Fifth Sun reveals
the depths of the Mexican-American immigrant experience, and by doing
so, it renders a fresh perspective on the resilience of the human
spirit. .. the novel is full of exquisite detail that shows what superb
control Lagasse has over the English language."
Houston: 8/29/04 " In her novel Mary Helen Lagasse
writes about women of power and the dream of all immigrants who cross
the border in search of a better future." (Translated from the Spanish)
Fifth Sun is a
strong novel. Lagasse paints a powerful picture of Immigration during
the Depression . . . Definitely recommended reading."
The Fifth Sun "
...lyrically written; a beautifully webbed story about survival, inner
strength, and destiny; a moving tale of a woman's struggle and her hope
for a life in which all elements are in balance: a family rejoined and a
daughter who knows no borders but her own."
(Nov/Dec 2004 issue): "Mercedes is a contrast of
timidity and ferocity, obedience and toughness . . . Throughout this
beautifully told tale we are treated to wonderful characters who
alternately enrich, hinder and help move the lives of Mercedes and
Jesse. . . [their story] is a reminder that there is beauty and love to
be found, even in hard lines lived under nearly impossible
Orleans Times-Picayune (12/26/04):
Susan Larson, Book Editor, cited
The Fifth Sun
year's best debut novel of 2004"
critic: "A marvelous book . . .The most disconcerting thing, maybe the
only disconcerting thing, about this book is that as I read, I couldn't
help thinking 'this is a FIRST novel'---It's just too good . . ."