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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 447

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New Islands is a collection of five stories. Quotes are provided with descriptions of the stories they come from.

All night long she could hear the rain thrashing, splashing through the leaves of the rubber tree like a thousand tiny rivers sliding down imaginary canals. All night long she heard the ancient trunk creak and moan.

In the story "The Tree," Maria provides a vivid description of the symbolism of the tree for the character Brigada. Brigada begins to seek life and love as the tree is cut down at the conclusion. The tree could be, perhaps, a representation of Brigada's love of nature. However, it also coincides with Brigada's decision to leave her marriage.

And the next day will be the same, and so on for a year, for ten; and it will be the same until old age robs me of any right to love and desire, until my body withers and my face wrinkles and I am ashamed to show myself without artifice in the light of the sun.

"The Final Mist" follows a woman who marries her cousin, Daniel, after his first wife dies. They get married despite not being in love with each other. She falls into a boredom with the routine of married life and is unfulfilled by her relationship. The line between reality and fantasy becomes blurred as she creates a dream life for herself. In her mind, she had made love with a stranger while visiting the city. That night remains the most memorable and exciting moment for her as the years go by. After finding out from her husband that on that night they both got drunk and she had never left the room, the wife questions herself. Shortly after they hear that a friend, who had been having an affair with her husband and boyfriend, has committed suicide. This provides the pivotal moment that leaves the wife contemplating her reality. She soon re-imagines a corrected version of her life with her husband as mediocre.

Some years ago, perhaps, it might have been reasonable to destroy in one rebellious impulse all the vitality accumulated inside me to avoid watching it languish and die for want of an outlet. But an implacable destiny has stripped me even of the right to search for death, has instead led me slowly and cruelly to an old age devoid of passion, of memories...of a past.

A major theme throughout the collection of stories is women's frustrations and desires. The female protagonists in the stories are all struggling within confining situations. Each have different plots, yet they carry similarities in the desire for that which is unknown as their frustrating relationships falter.

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