Book Review: She Would Be King

Book Review: She Would Be KingShe Would Be King
by Wayetu Moore
on September 11, 2018
Pages: 312
Published by Graywolf Press
Genres: Diverse Spines, Magical Realism
Goodreads

A novel of exhilarating range, magical realism, and history—a dazzling retelling of Liberia’s formation.

Wayétu Moore’s powerful debut novel, She Would Be King, reimagines the dramatic story of Liberia’s early years through three unforgettable characters who share an uncommon bond. Gbessa, exiled from the West African village of Lai, is starved, bitten by a viper, and left for dead, but still she survives. June Dey, raised on a plantation in Virginia, hides his unusual strength until a confrontation with the overseer forces him to flee. Norman Aragon, the child of a white British colonizer and a Maroon slave from Jamaica, can fade from sight when the earth calls him. When the three meet in the settlement of Monrovia, their gifts help them salvage the tense relationship between the African American settlers and the indigenous tribes, as a new nation forms around them.

Moore’s intermingling of history and magical realism finds voice not just in these three characters but also in the fleeting spirit of the wind, who embodies an ancient wisdom. “If she was not a woman,” the wind says of Gbessa, “she would be king.” In this vibrant story of the African diaspora, Moore, a talented storyteller and a daring writer, illuminates with radiant and exacting prose the tumultuous roots of a country inextricably bound to the United States. She Would Be King is a novel of profound depth set against a vast canvas and a transcendent debut from a major new author.

My Takeaway“Loneliness while in the presence of others is a most cruel kind.”Wayétu Moore, She Would Be King Moore is a magical and magnificent storyteller. She Would Be King was engaging and fascinating. I love and gravitate towards strong female characters, and Moore delivered! Hands…

Book Review: The House of Broken Angels

Book Review: The House of Broken AngelsThe House of Broken Angels
by Luis Alberto Urrea
on March 6, 2018
Pages: 336
Genres: Literary Fiction, Magical Realism, Multicultural
Goodreads

The definitive Mexican-American immigrant story, a sprawling and deeply felt portrait of a Mexican-American family occasioned by the impending loss of its patriarch, from one of the country's most beloved authors.

Prizewinning and bestselling writer Luis Urrea has written his Mexican coming-to-America story and his masterpiece. Destined to sit alongside other classic immigrant novels, The House of Broken Angels is a sprawling and epic family saga helmed by patriarch Big Angel. The novel gathers together the entire De La Cruz clan, as they meet for the final birthday party Big Angel is throwing for himself, at home in San Diego, as he nears the end of his struggle with cancer and reflects on his long and full life.

But when Big Angel's mother, Mama America, approaching one hundred, dies herself as the party nears, he must plan her funeral as well. There will be two family affairs in one weekend: a farewell double-header. Among the attendants is his half-brother and namesake, Little Angel, who comes face to face with the siblings with whom he shared a father but not, as the weekend proceeds to remind him, a life.

This story of the De La Cruzes is the story of what it means to be a Mexican in America, to have lived two lives across one border. It is a tale of the ravaging power of death to shore up the bits of life you have forgotten, whether by choice or not. Above all, this finely wrought portrait of a deeply complex family and the America they have come to call home is Urrea at his purest and best. Teeming with brilliance and humor, authentic at every turn, The House of Broken Angels cements his reputation as a storyteller of the first rank.

My Takeaway “That is the prize: to realize, at the end, that every minute was worth fighting for with every ounce of blood and fire.” The House of Broken Angels was a wonderfully written novel about a large Mexican-American family. The novel dealt with the family’s various…

Book Review: Like Water for Chocolate

Book Review: Like Water for ChocolateComo agua para chocolate
by Laura Esquivel
on January 25, 2001
Pages: 256
Published by Vintage Espanol
Genres: Fiction, Libros en Español, Magical Realism
Goodreads

Una novela sorprendente, inolvidable, cuyo tema gira en torno a un amor imposible para cuya consecución la protagonista recurrirá a las artes culinarias. Bajo la apariencia de un folletín por entregas y encabezando cada capítulo con una receta, esta historia mágica convierte la gastronomía en un código de sensualidad cargado de penetrantes aromas, de colores deslumbrantes. Tita es la pequeña, vive en un rancho con sus hermanas y sus sirvientas, y pese a saberse condenada a no poder gozar del amor por tener que hacerse cargo de su madre, no renunciará a Pedro. Él también la ama, pero se casará con su hermana Rosaura para poder seguir cerca de ella. Tita se refugia en la cocina y se entrega a la elaboración de platos mágicos capaces de transformar las emociones y el comportamiento de quienes los prueban, a la espera de que su trágico destino se cumpla.

Mi Punto de Vista “Y así como un poeta juega con las palabras, así ella jugaba a su antojo con los ingredientes y con las cantidades obteniendo resultados fenomenales.” Laura Esquivel, Como agua para chocolate Como agua para chocolate sobrepaso todas mis expectativas. La novela nos demuestra el amor a…

Book Review: The House of the Spirits

Book Review: The House of the SpiritsLa Casa de Los Espiritus
by Isabel Allende
on January 3, 2017
Pages: 560
Published by Vintage Espanol
Genres: Libros en Español, Literary Fiction, Magical Realism, Multicultural
Goodreads

In one of the most important and beloved Latin American works of the twentieth century, Isabel Allende weaves a luminous tapestry of three generations of the Trueba family, revealing both triumphs and tragedies.

Here is patriarch Esteban, whose wild desires and political machinations are tempered only by his love for his ethereal wife, Clara, a woman touched by an otherworldly hand. Their daughter, Blanca, whose forbidden love for a man Esteban has deemed unworthy infuriates her father, yet will produce his greatest joy: his granddaughter Alba, a beautiful, ambitious girl who will lead the family and their country into a revolutionary future.

The House of the Spirits is an enthralling saga that spans decades and lives, twining the personal and the political into an epic novel of love, magic, and fate.

Mi Punto de Vista “Esa noche creí que había perdido para siempre la capacidad de enamorarme, que nunca más podría reírme ni perseguir una ilusión. Pero nunca más es mucho tiempo.” La casa de los espíritus, Isabel Allende La casa de los esp…

Book Review: Exit West

Book Review: Exit WestExit West
by Mohsin Hamid
on 3/7/2017
Pages: 231
Published by Riverhead Books
Genres: Magical Realism, Literary Fiction, Fiction
Goodreads

In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through.

Exit West follows these characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.

My Takeaway  “We are all migrants through time.” Mohsin Hamid What a magnificent and magical novel! At a mere 240 pages, Exit West is jam-packed with beautiful, poetic and imaginative writing (and fabulism tinges). Hamid is a magician of words and I was a guest on his magic carpet…