The Accidental Santera

A Novel

Irete Lazo

St. Martin's Griffin/Thomas Dunne Books

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A one-of-a-kind novel that plunges readers into the secrets of Afro-Cuban Santeria—a world of fascinating beauty, pulsating rhythms, and great mystery.

Gabrielle Segovia, Ph.D., is struggling to build a career as a Latina scientist, cope with her third miscarriage, and resuscitate her marriage to fellow biology professor Benito Cruz. Becoming a santera is not in her plans.

But everything changes when her best friend, the feisty Patricia Muñoz, drags her into a French Quarter voodoo shop during a conference in New Orleans. When Gabrielle gets home to the San Francisco Bay Area, the predictions from her on-a-whim reading begin to come true. That’s when she learns she hails from a long line of practitioners of Santeria, the religion created when Yoruba slaves combined their ancient rituals with Catholicism.

Out of desperation to become a mother and save both her job and her marriage, Gabrielle turns to Puerto Rican relatives living in Miami she hasn’t seen since she was a child. She finds herself warmly embraced by three generations of Segovia santeras and drawn into their world of séances, sacred drums, and ritual animal sacrifice.

Unexpectedly marked for initiation by the gods and goddesses of the Yoruba pantheon, Gabrielle must decide whether she can bring herself to answer the call. And, if she chooses, commit to the seemingly contradictory life of a scientist who is also a santera.

In this powerful debut novel, Irete Lazo captures a vibrant world still unknown to many and relates a journey that is at once funny, heart-wrenching, and, ultimately, triumphant.

 

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Chapter One

Ashé can be understood as the energy of the universe.... At the highest, most powerful level, practitioners understand that ashé, the ground of being, is something rather than nothing. They call this something Olodumare, the Supreme Being, the owner of Heaven, the Owner of all Destinies.

—Santería: Correcting the Myths and Uncovering the Realities of a Growing Religion

I WAS FIRST INTRODUCED to Santeria during a business trip to New Orleans. Early in the evening, I was sitting at the carousel bar at the Hotel Monteleone, starting my second slow

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Praise for The Accidental Santera

Praise for The Accidental Santera:
 
"The Accidental Santera is an evocative and sensitively written novel that captures the essence of a religion shrouded in mystery. It's Lazo's thinly veiled personal testament to a newly acquired faith...that brings spiritual comfort to those who follow its creed."--San Antonio Express News
 
"This obviously autobiographical novel has the ring of truth....[R]eaders who want an up close and personal view of santeria will see what a rich support it is for family life, and what comfort--and responsibility--may be found there."--The Times-Picayune
 
"The poignant story of one woman's journey into the fascinating world of Santería. Irete Lazo fearlessly describes the power and emotion of spiritual rituals and sheds humane insight on an often misunderstood religion. This heartfelt debut rings boldly, candidly true."—Cristina García, author of A Handbook to Luck
 
"The Accidental Santera is a moving, original debut novel that made me shiver with delight. Irete Lazo is that rare combination of guts, grace and passion that, when translated onto the page, gives us truly fantastic literature."—Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, bestselling author of Dirty Girls on Top

"A terrifically entertaining read--filled with mysticism, spirituality, and womanist charm.  Enticing and highly recommended."--Jewell Parker Rhodes, author of Voodoo Dreams and Yellow Moon

 


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About the Author

Irete Lazo

Irete Lazo (a pseudonym) is a practicing santera and former scientist who received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. She has been a reporter at the San Jose Mercury News, an editor at Latina magazine, and a science correspondent for National Public Radio’s Latino USA. She is currently a freelance science writer living with her husband and son in the San Francisco Bay Area. This is her first novel.

Irete Lazo

Irete Lazo

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Available Formats and Book Details

The Accidental Santera
A Novel
Irete Lazo

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Griffin/Thomas Dunne Books
October 2008
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9781250011480
ISBN10: 1250011485
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 336 pages
$19.99

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
Thomas Dunne Books
October 2008
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429947886
ISBN10: 1429947888
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 336 pages
$7.99
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