The Miracle of Small Things

by  Guilie Castillo Oriard

Launched in New York City on Wednesday 2nd September 2015, at La Casa Azul Bookstore. The author read from her new book, and the issues of expat life and identity and self-understanding were discussed too.

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International tax lawyer Luis Villalobos is lured to the tiny island of Curaçao by the promise of a fast track to the cusp of an already stellar career. But the paradise we expect is so rarely the paradise we find.

The Miracle of Small Things is a novel in stories, a portrait of the power of place in our definition of self. Author Guilie Castillo Oriard is a Mexican import herself who transferred to Curaçao “for six months”—and, twelve years and a magical story of love later, is still there.

 

ISBN (paperback) 978-1-925101-73-7 / ISBN (eBook) 978-1-925101-74-4

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What people are saying about The Miracle of Small Things

 

The Miracle of Small Things is an ode to the stark contrasts and subtle beauty of island life. Like Curaçao’s “prickly kind of beauty,” the myriad details teeming beneath the surface are astonishingly captivating.

—Lynne M. Hinkey, author of Marina Melee

 

The Miracle of Small Things explores the tensions arising from protagonist Luis Villalobos’s many incompatible attractions: professional success, beautiful women, loyal dogs, the lure of the coral reef, his own destiny, and his temporary island home of Curaçao. This lovely and compelling book has an enormous heart, pulling the reader along with Villalobos as his problems grow and solutions fade. The stakes are high for Luis as he finds himself deeply entangled in paths that will lead him to a final, difficult choice. The Miracle of Small Things lavishes praise on its extraordinary island setting, dogs’ steadfast love, and human spirit’s need to find its own rhythm. Curaçao is lovingly rendered, past and present, as a character itself—post-colonial, starkly beautiful, and captivating. You cannot read this book without checking airfares to Curaçao.

—John Wentworth Chapin, author of Alexandrite and founder of 52|250 A Year of Flash

 

Luis Villalobos’s life in Curaçao is stretched to the limits of understanding what is important to his soul in thirteen strong short stories strung together as he adjusts to the demands of his job, the relationships he builds, and life on the island. Come along for the ride but fasten your seatbelt; it can get bumpy. And finally, be aware of contemplative hummingbirds, suggesting you do the same about your life. The Miracle of Small Things is a five-star read.

—Rick Bylina, author of the Detective Stark series, including One Promise Too Many and A Matter of Faith

 

The combination of money and sex always creates an irresistible dynamic. Add more than a few dogs to the mix, and Guilie Castillo Oriard has created a tale as beguiling as the seductive ambiance of Curaçao itself.

—Peggy Vincent, author of Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife

 

Written in Guilie Castillo Oriard’s typical rich voice, with details the reader can all but taste, The Miracle of Small Things proves that sometimes a man cannot be open to finding what he really needs until first he lets go of everything he thought he wanted. Follow the journey of Luis Villalobos, a lawyer who has it all—a beautiful woman, a tantalizing promotional opportunity, life on a tropical island and even a dog, the one thing he never wanted. Luis knew taking in that dirty mongrel would be a mistake. But he had no idea the consequences would be so great. Woven throughout his story are such exquisite details of the history of Curaçao, you’ll want to visit this beautiful island paradise.

—Cindy Dwyer, author of My Roots Are Showing

 

A richly enchanting story of lives and loves unfolding against the backdrop of the Caribbean, The Miracle of Small Things is an enthralling novel in stories written with beautiful intensity, a book of dreams and desires, and a journey to self-discovery that gives life meaning.

—Silvia Villalobos, author of Stranger or Friend

 

A series of ongoing vignettes rather than a typical collection of short stories, The Miracle of Small Things by Guilie Castillo Oriard captures a world unfamiliar to many: the ambiance and economic niche of Curaçao and the lives of some of its inhabitants. The writing is slightly quirky and wholly engaging, and the book sizzles with the heat of the Caribbean sun, revealing consequences of various life choices and renewing readers’ perspectives on their own lives.

—Jeannette de Beauvoir, author of Asylum

 

Storytelling at its absolute finest. Guilie Castillo Oriard’s superb narrative voice—rich in detail and emotion—transport the reader to a place they won’t ever want to leave. A scrumptious and satisfying read from beginning to end!

—Robin Cain, author of The Secret Miss Rabbit Kept

 

Guilie Castillo Oriard has the ability to transport the reader to exotic locales and introduce them to people as familiar as family.

—Michele Riccio, author of Ursula: Then and Now, I Do-Over: Confessions of a Recalcitrant Bridesmaid, and Sex Lives and Dental Chairs

 

Five stars. Urbane and utterly charming, Luis Villalobos is driven by ambition to become a General Manager of an offshore, international investment firm. His only obstacle to achieving his dreams seems to be his manipulative and seductive boss. And then practical Luis takes in an abandoned dog, his integrity is challenged, and he falls in love.

The Miracle of Small Things beguiles the reader with a witty and compassionate portrait of a year in the life of Luis Villalobos in tropical Curaçao, where nothing is quite what it seems, and all can be lost or gained in a summer afternoon on the beach. Told deftly, with humor and insight into our very human vulnerabilities, this lovely novella by Guilie Castillo Oriard builds upon that quest for happiness we share, a sense of belonging, and makes me want to travel south to find my own miracle.

—Beth Camp, author of The McDonnell Clan books, including Standing Stones and Years of Stone

 

(below) Guilie at the launch of The Miracle of Small Things at La Casa Azul Bookstore, 103 Street, New York City.

Guilie reading