Monday, March 2, 2020

"This Train Is Being Held"

Ismée Williams, the author of Water in May, is a pediatric cardiologist who trained and practiced for over a dozen years at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, the daughter of a Cuban immigrant partially raised by her abuelos, and the mother of three daughters. She also has a dog, Rowan, who is commonly mistaken for a muppet.

Williams applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, This Train Is Being Held, and reported the following:
This Train Is Being Held is told from the alternating points of view of two lovers from opposite sides of the tracks who meet and fall for each other on the subway. Alex is a Dominican-American baseball prodigy from Washington Heights who maybe wants to be a poet, though his papi wants him to go pro. Isa is an Upper East Side private-school girl who wants to be a professional ballerina, except her Havana-born mom thinks this an unacceptable career choice for a modern woman. Oh–and she doesn’t want her daughter dating Latinos either.

Page 69 falls in one of Alex’s chapters. It provides a glimpse of Alex’s life with his Papi in Brooklyn.

On page 69 of This Train Is Being Held, Alex trains with Papi in Sunset Park. It’s February, in New York City. It’s quite cold but as long as there’s no snow or ice, Papi will make Alex run drills. It’s all part of the plan to get Alex drafted into Major League Baseball. Alex’s younger brother, who idolizes Alex, tries to join in, but Papi won’t let him because Robi doesn’t have Alex’s promise and talent. Papi’s expectations of Alex along with Alex’s desire to please Papi as well as protect Robi from their father’s temper are clear. In this way, page 69 is representative of a main theme of the book: expectations and how these expectations shape one’s behavior and identity. We only see Alex and his family on page 69, however. Isa and her own family struggles, which make up the other significant portion of the story, are missing.
Visit Ismée Williams's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Ismée Amiel Williams & Rowan.

My Book, The Movie: This Train Is Being Held.

Writers Read: Ismée Williams.

--Marshal Zeringue