There are only two land borders in the insular Caribbean, the longer of which separates Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Lorgia García-Peña deals directly with that frontier and the people (rayanos, “borderers”) who live along it, as well as the dominicanos ausentes (absent Dominicans) who have made 181st Street in Manhattan a far-northern extension of the city of Santo Domingo.

This means dealing with the complicated and sensitive issues of race and national identity, what it means to be Dominican, and the dark history of anti-Haitianism that has pervaded the politics of the Dominican Republic since the nineteenth century. Indeed, those questions form the central themes of the book, examined primarily through examination of texts related to key episodes in the history of the country: the rape and murder of the “Galindo Virgins” in 1822, the suppression of Afro-Christian religious...

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