Place Where the Sea Remembers

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Feb 5, 1995 - Fiction - 176 pages
5 Reviews
Finalist for the Los Angeles Times book award and winner of the Minnesota Book Award, A Place Where the Sea Remembers is a timeless classic, a mesmerizing world filled with love, betrayal, tragedy, and hope.

This rich and bewitching story is a bittersweet portrait of the people in Santiago, a Mexican village by the sea. Chayo, the flower seller, and her husband Candelario, the salad maker, are finally blessed with the child they thought they would never have. Their cause for happiness, however, triggers a chain of events that impact the lives of everyone in their world.

The hopes, triumphs, failures, and shortcomings of the novel’s enchanting array of characters create a graceful picture of life that is both a universal portrait and an insider’s look at life in Latin America.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star


User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

From an author of Anglo and Puerto Rican descent: a spare, poetic novel-in-stories of ordinary people in a Mexican village, focusing on elemental subjects of birth and death. Ben°tez tries to ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rachelprz - LibraryThing

I didn't want to put it down until I finished it. What a gem of a book! Read full review

Selected pages


Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 9
Section 10
Section 11
Section 12
Section 13

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1995)

Sandra Benitez

"I spent my life moving between the Latin American culture of my
Puerto Rican mother and the Anglo-American culture of my father.
I was born on March 26, 1941 in Washington, D.C., one of a pair of
identical twins. My sister died only a month after our birth. A year
later my parents and I moved to Mexico where another sister was born.
My childhood and early adulthood were spent in Mexico and El Salvador.
When I think of those years, the images that come to me are awash in
the color saffron: the Spanish language, the permeable scent of cedar
and leather, the shimmering heat, the color of the women in the household,
the stories they told, the lives they shared.

"In Latin America, I learned that life is frail and most
always capricious, that people find joy in the midst of insurmountable
obstacles, that in the end, it is hope that saves us.

"When I became a teenager, I was sent to live for three
years on my paternal grandparents'' farm in Northeastern
Missouri, and this is where I attended high school. I was the first
Latina the people there had ever known. Those years live for me
in a pale blue light: the thin sheen the setting sun casts on the
snow banks, the color of my father''s eyes, the doleful bawl a cow
makes when it has lost its calf, the back-breaking work that is the
farmer''s lot.

"In Missouri, I learned that life is what you make it, and
that satisfaction comes with a job well done, that in the end,
it is steadfastness that saves us."

"I received my undergraduate and master''s degrees from
Northeast Missouri State University. Over the years I have been
an English, Spanish, and Literature teacher at both high school
and university levels. I have been a translator, and I have worked
in the international division of a major training corporation. I
have traveled extensively throughout Latin America. Since 1980,
I have been a fiction writer and a creative writing teacher. I have
two grown sons and I live with my husband in Minnesota."

"I came to writing late. I was thirty-nine before I gathered
enough courage to begin. When I hear other writers talk about
writing, I''m amazed by those who say they always knew they had
to write. When I was a girl, I never wished to do it. Being a writer
was something magical I never dreamed I could attain. But while
growing up, I frequently had a book in my lap -- and so I was
linked even then to writing and to the spell that stories cast. I
didn''t know a writing life was lying in store for me. I had to live
and grow before I caught the faint call. Since heeding the call,
I''ve worked hard at being faithful to it, for writing is an act of
faith. We must keep faith each day with our writing if we want to
be called writers.

"Since I''ve been writing I''ve searched what''s in my heart
and its from that core that I write and not from what seems
marketable. I am a Latina American. In my heart are stored the
stories of my Latin American and Missourian heritage -- of a
childhood lived in Mexico and El Salvador. When I write, I have to
suppress the knowledge that mainstream America often ignores
the stories of ''the other America.'' Over the years, I''ve learned to
write from the heart, to persevere despite the setbacks of a host
of rejections.

"In the end, I''ve learned these things about writing: its
never too late to begin; we know all we need to know in order to
do it; persistence and tenacity will take us all the way. There are
angels on our shoulders, be still to catch their whisperings."

Reading Group Discussion Points

Other Books With Reading Group Guides

Bibliographic information