When Esmeralda Santiago arrived in New York City in the early 1960s, she was completely terrified.
“I always think of the trip from Puerto Rico to the United States as probably the most traumatic thing that ever happened to me,” Santiago says. “I was a rural girl. We lived out in the country. I had never seen television. We had no electricity or running water.”
The alienation Santiago felt informed her writing. That turmoil, and her love for the history of Puerto Rico and the voices of characters she heard in her dreams, became Santiago’s novel Conquistadora.