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Makina arranges to be smuggled from Mexico into the US to search for her brother. A book group choice. A very short novella by a Mexican author, crowd-funded, with a breathless collection of reverential quotes on the back and opening pages, and a pile of five-star Amazon reviews. I’ll give it two stars. The first paragraph was arresting – a sinkhole opens up in front of Makina – but after that my eye mostly skimmed and I failed to care. The subject matter felt self-consciously worthy, and the writing (and its translation from the Spanish) pretentiously literary. Meaning was quite often hard to decipher, and I didn’t linger to puzzle over it. Not counting blank pages it was only 81. Had it been any longer, I would have given up on it quite early. Experimental literary fiction not really my thing. The emperor looked naked to me.
A remarKable book that first you read for the story, and then you will read it again for the prose. It's a timeless novel in nine short chapiters about an epic journey, migration, transnacionalism and transculturalism. Makina left Mexico to the USA and she carries a rucksack, "She packed, a small blue metal flash ligt for the darkness she might encounter, one withe blouse and one with colorful embrodery, in case she came across any parties, threes pairs of panties so she always have a clean one even it took a while to find a washhouse (...)"
Even in translation, this book's language is beautiful. It's a vivid, thoughtful novella with a confident female protagonist, and provides an impressively deep insight into Mexican culture and life within a short story.
Gostei da habilidade do escritor em colocar o leitor dentro do mundo subjetivo da personagem, sem qualquer preocupação com a "objetividade" das situações descritas. Gostaria de ter lido em espanhol, mas não sei se a experiência da leitura seria melhor. Tive alguma dificuldade com o inglês da tradução, mas compreendo a dificuldade de traduzir um livro como esse, em que os próprios personagens estranham o diálogo com línguas diferentes.