Archive for the ‘Latin American/Caribbean’ Category
What an apt title! Patchett at her best is a magician of wonder, and this is indeed among her best…I found myself reading STATE OF WONDER slowly and more slowly, allowing myself to sink into her depth of character, enjoying the deliberate pace of her revelation, reluctant to start another chapter until I had digested the one just finished. The urge to spin out a book for as long as possible is rare for me — but I remember it well from reading Bel Canto, a pivotal experience which reawakened a love of fiction that has never let up.
Wow! This quotation should indicate why I both reveled in this rich and wonderful book and yet had such trouble getting through it. It was my first Fuentes, and may or may not be typical of his earlier style, but it is original, gloriously baroque, and alarmingly dense.
The main character in James Scudamoreâ€™s novel HELIOPOLIS is twenty-seven-year-old Ludo. Born in terrible poverty in a Sao Paulo Favela (shantytown), Ludo and his mother had the good fortune to come to the attention of Rebecca, the British, charity-minded wife of one of the cityâ€™s richest businessmen, Zeno (ZÃ©) Generoso. ZÃ© and Rebecca, who have one daughter, Melissa, formally adopted Ludo, and he has a privileged upbringing which comes with a price; heâ€™s constantly reminded of his humble beginnings, his good fortune and how much he owes to his benefactors. Separated from his mother who remains as the cook at ZÃ©â€™s country estate, Ludo has no self-identity. His life is shaped by the desires of the Generoso family, and while he may be the adopted son, heâ€™s little more than a trained house-serf.
THE INVISIBLE MOUNTAIN is a gem of a novel, grounded in actual history, with a dollop of magical realism, a splash of Dickensian coincidence, with some forbidden romance and political intrigue added to the mix.
The novel opens at the turn of the 20th century in a remote Uruguayan village, when a baby is spirited away and then reappears, a year later, unharmed in the branches of a tree. The young one is named Pajarita â€“ translated to little bird â€“ and the narrative, divided into three sections, sequentially focuses on her, her daughter Eva, and her granddaughter Salome.
October 9, 2010
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 20th-Century, Knopf, Latin American, Magical Realism, mother-daughter, Real Event Fiction, Uruguay Â· Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Debut Novel, Facing History, Latin American/Caribbean, Reading Guide, South America
Nothing has gone right for Gabrielle Segovia in a while. Frustrated with her academic job, slowly becoming more and more estranged from her husband and despondent after three miscarriages, everything comes to a head when after too much alcohol at a New Orleans nightclub, she picks up a sexy scientist attending the same conference and might have done more than kiss him if her stomach hadnâ€™t propelled her to the bathroom instead. On a lark, she participates in a reading at Marie Laveauâ€™s shop that will change her life. Mr. John, the reader, tells her that her husband has a surprise for her, her father should stay away from ladders, someone at her university wants to steal her work and that she needs to turn to her family for answers.
As TRY TO REMEMBER begins in 1968, Gabriella is fifteen years old, living with her father, mother and two younger brothers near Miami, Florida. They have come to the United States from Colombia and though her parents both hold green cards, Gabi is afraid that they will all have their cards confiscated and be sent back to their village in Colombia. Gabi’s fears stem mostly from the fact that her father behaves erratically and her brothers get into trouble in school.
May 21, 2010
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 1960s, Immigration-Diaspora, Latin American, Mental Health/Illness, Miami Â· Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Coming-of-Age, Florida, Latin American/Caribbean