In Xochitl Gonzalez’s novel, Olga Dies Dreaming (11.5 hours), successful wedding planner Olga navigates the world of wealthy New Yorkers while pursuing answers about her Puerto Rican heritage, her mother’s history and her own future love.
Olga attends her cousin’s wedding while in love for the first time, but the ominous reappearance of her mother’s presence clouds the possibilities laid before her. Meanwhile, Olga’s congressman brother holds big stakes in a bill that addresses Puerto Rico’s debt to the United States.
Opposing forces—Puerto Rican and American identities, wealth and poverty, religion and activism—rule the narrative. Three bilingual actors of Puerto Rican descent—Almarie Guerra, Armando Riesco and Inés del Castillo—give voice to Olga, her brother and mother, their stories unfolding through a multifaceted plot layered with political, financial and personal dramas. The narrators’ accents and code-shifting create a vibrant auditory experience. In particular, Guerra’s luscious voice conveys Olga’s transformation from fighter to a compassionate woman as she overcomes dualities and finds wholeness within herself.