Professor Rámírez Márquez’s My Emerald Green Dress

December 12, 2006 | Borough of Manhattan Community College

Alister Rámírez Márquez is a professor of Spanish at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC). He is also a man in love with his art and his culture. He wants his students, especially, to catch that certain something about Spanish literature that makes it tick. He has written a new novel, My Emerald Green Dress. For those not able to read his novel in Spanish, an English translation is in progress. But, as good as that may be, there’s nothing like reading it in the original Spanish.

My Emerald Green Dress tells the story of a remarkable woman, Clara, living in the Colombian Andes during the 20th century. This novel, written like a memoir, is divided into four parts: The first part (chapters I-V) corresponds to Clara’s journey from the place where she was born up to the mountainous region where coffee is presently grown. The second part (chapters VI-XIV) tells about her settlement, which allows her to consolidate her wealth, represented by land, property, and her own children. The third part (chapters XV-XIX) is a recollection of the struggles of the past years. Clara’s life is touched by some political events in Colombian history such as a period called "La violencia" (1940-1968), exacerbated by the assassination of a political leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán (April 9, 1948). The protagonist also witnesses the expropriation of her lands. All of this causes the destruction of her empire and makes her go into exile from the countryside to Armenia, a small town in the middle of the Andes. The fourth part (chapters XX-XXIV) shows the decadence of her descendants, and her determination to die with dignity.

My Emerald Green Dress was reviewed in Hoy from New York and The Bergen Record. Professor Rámírez Márquez was interviewed by Antonio Martínez in “Al Despertar,” Univisión. He was also invited to Feria Internacional del Libro de Bogotá, Santiago de Chile, and Guadalajara, Mexico.

Alister Rámírez Márquez is a United States citizen who was born in Colombia (April 9, 1965). He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Javeriana University at Santa Fe de Bogotá in 1989. He earned a Master of Arts degree from Hunter College in 1997. He received a prize in the Friends of Hunter College Library Best Book Review Competition for his review of Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Páramo. His academic achievement was recognized by a special award created for him by the Department of Romance Languages. He has a Ph.D in Hispanic Literature from The Graduate Center, CUNY. He has been the recipient of several University fellowships, and the Dean Harris fellowship. Previously published works are: Reportaje a Once Escritores Norteamericanos (Planeta, Colombia 1996) and ¿Quién se Robó los Colores? (Wayside, Massachusetts 1999). Reportaje is a collection of eleven interviews which are designed to familiarize Spanish language readers with the range of post World War II American fiction. Ramírez is a contributor for one of the major newspapers in Latin America, El Tiempo of Colombia.

The book is available through Getrex-Libreria in Queens, and Lectorum Bookstore and Macondo in Manhattan.

For more stories about BMCC, visit BMCC News.