How to Leave Hialeah

About the Book

United in their fierce sense of place and infused with the fading echoes of a lost homeland, the stories in Jennine Capó Crucet’s striking debut collection do for Miami what Edward P. Jones does for Washington, D.C., and what James Joyce did for Dublin: they expand our ideas and our expectations of the city by exposing its tough but vulnerable underbelly.

Crucet’s writing has been shaped by the people and landscapes of South Florida and by the stories of Cuba told by her parents and abuelos. Her own stories are informed by her experiences as a Cuban American woman living within and without her community, ready to leave and ready to return, “ready to mourn everything.”

Coming to us from the predominantly Hispanic working-class neighborhoods of Hialeah, the voices of this steamy section of Miami shout out to us from rowdy all-night funerals and kitchens full of plátanos and croquetas and lechón ribs, from domino tables and cigar factories, glitter-purple Buicks and handed-down Mom Rides, private homes of santeras and fights on front lawns. Calling to us from crowded expressways and canals underneath abandoned overpasses shading a city’s secrets, these voices are the heart of Miami, and in this award-winning collection Jennine Capó Crucet makes them sing.

Jennine Capó Crucet is an astonishing talent. This book… is written with such electrifying verve and fearlessness that I wanted to squeeze the paper it was written on, jump for joy, and run around recommending it to everyone I know.
Cristina Henríquez
Come Together, Fall Apart, and The World in Half



"...Completely wonderful and a huge treat to read."
—The Daily Beast


"A fresh voice in American fiction."
—The Miami Herald 


"… A spectacular collection… The range of stories that course through How to Leave Hialeah produces an exceptional debut…” 
—El Paso Times

"Crucet is endowed with the double vision that helped Richard Wright and Salman Rushdie describe the lives of marginalized people with poignancy, humor, and rich music."
—The Rumpus


What a joy it is to read the work of a writer who has a powerful voice, a sense of humor, and a feeling for local histories. Jennine Capó Crucet’s stories start with Cuban American neighborhoods and cultures and then sail off into the direction of the great themes: love, familial bonds, aging, and death. And resurrection. This is a wonderful collection.
Charles Baxter
Feast of Love, National Book Award finalist

This is definitely a young writer to watch for, sassy, smart, with an unerring ear for a community’s voices, its losses, its over-the-top telenovela extravagances, and its poignant struggles to understand itself in a new land. I was glad not to have to leave Hialeah right away, but to stay long enough to hear its many stories as told by a gifted writer.
—Julia Alvarez
How the García Girls Lost Their Accents In the Time of the Butterflies

In this engrossing collection—sometimes intense, at other times darkly humorous—debut author Crucet portrays the daily challenges, heartbreak and family ties that penetrate Hialeah, a working-class Cuban-American neighborhood in Miami... Crucet details vividly the daily struggle that leads Cubans to prize their heritage above much else, but also illuminates a powerful need to escape the past.
Publishers Weekly


Crucet is a writer of prodigious talent, with a gift for making her readers both laugh and sigh all in the same breath. With stories as vivid and captivating as these, you won’t want to leave Hialeah, even with the coming of Crucet’s final, beautifully crafted page.
San Diego Union Tribune