When getting out of the hood is a dream, but the chances are stacked against you—Dique: “supposedly.” He’s not supposed to be here—in Brooklyn, in the U.S., in the hood. This Dominican immigrant in
Brooklyn does not ask too much of his memory. He clings to the bits and pieces of his fragmented self—the one in the rural campo of his Dominican birthplace, the East New York teenager, the Ohio young adult—his dique becoming and belonging to a place that doesn’t seem to exist yet.
Told through a series of flashbacks and vignettes, Dique Dominican is Ayendy Bonifacio’s memoir. His coming-of-age is the story of so many immigrants—the undocumented, the poor, the oppressed, and the unafraid—how he went from no electricity to bright lights in the Big Apple, beat his circumstances while never losing his Dominican dreams. Ultimately, this is his story of rebirth and reconciliation, how he found truth in his difference, enlightenment in his words.
“'Near a mango-steepled river-scented town'” in the Dominican Republic, a writer was born. Everyone has a story, and for all those marginalized in the United States, it is our duty to tell what we have lived. In this debut memoir, Ayendy Bonifacio, who migrated as a child to Brooklyn, has done it well. By giving his life meaning, Dique encourages overlapping communities to join in and also lift their voices high. These times demand such acts of courage and skill."
—Ana Castillo, poet, activist, and novelist, author of The Mixquiahuala Letters, So Far From God, and Massacre of the Dreamers
“Language is home—and isn’t. It makes room for us, allowing us comfort. Or it proscribes us, sending us into the vertigo of exile. In Dique Dominican, [Bonifacio] gets lost and found as he navigates the interstices where words struggle for meaning. A courageous, Babel-like journey!”
—Ilan Stavans, cultural commentator, TV personality and author of On Borrowed Words and general editor of The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature
"A striking account of his journey from the campo in the Dominican Republic to Brooklyn to Ohio, as well as an exploration of independence and transcendence. The vivid details in this memoir portray more than the disparate places traversed, they reveal Bonifacio’s own complex internal landscape. Intense, honest and bold."
—Erika M. Martínez, editor of Daring to Write: Contemporary Narratives by Dominican Women
"Dique Dominican is a candid, often moving account of what it was like for a Dominican-American to grow up in East New York . . . His story takes us back to his childhood in a small farm town near Juncalito, about 160 kilometers north of Santo Domingo, records his life in his hood and his move to Ohio in order to continue with his studies. As the author illustrates his family dynamics, the reality of his community, and his attempt to negotiate his way between English and Spanish, sharing with us, at the same time, his personal trajectory, ambitions, and reflections, Ayendy Bonifacio always keeps his own lucidity in front of pain, discrimination, and violence. Never overstated, his account is like a whisper which, however, forcefully demands to be heard."
—Maria Cristina Fumagalli, professor and author of Caribbean Perspectives on Modernity: Returning Medusa's Gaze and On the Edge: Writing the Border Between Haiti and the Dominican Republic