In the Name of Salome
A powerful story full of serious ideas, In the name of Salomé, a novel by Julia Alvarez, leads the reader on the long journey of two women, mother and daughter, as they fight their way through life, love, and the pursuit of happiness.
Alvarez tells the story of Salomé Ureña, national poetess of the Dominican Republic, and her daughter, Salomé Camila Ureña Henríquez, over a span of 117 years, more than 30 revolutions, and in three different countries. It starts in 1856 at the beginning of Salomé’s life and moves forward, and also in 1960 at the beginning of the end of Camila’s life and moves backwards. Their stories finally meet for the three years they spent together.
Because she was the National Poetess, people, including her husband, saw Salomé as a symbol, not as a woman. Her life was full of disappointments: in herself, in her marriage, and in her patria. But her poems inspired the nation to ever-higher ideals, forcing her to hide her disappointments behind a mask of serenity. But, as the years go by and the disappointments grow ever-more numerous, she succumbs to tuberculosis, leaving her three-year-old daughter Camila to continue life in her shadow. Camila wanders the America’s in search of herself, using her mother’s poetry and life’s story as her compass.
The women struggle with their political ideals, their roots, their roles as women in a world made for men, and with their own sexualities. In the Name of Salomé explores the beautiful and sad story of a mother and daughter trying to find peace in the world and within themselves.