Meredith's Challenge 2.0

52 books, one year. Stay tuned for more details.

Friday, June 02, 2006

2.21 Peel My Love Like An Onion by Ana Castillo

I'm having a pretty good track record this year with fantastic books and this one is no exception. I won't go in again about how much I love rich, lush prose but that is definitely one of the reasons why I love this book so much. Castillo wrote this to describe the end of a love affair:

"a love dried up like a persimmon left in the fruit bowl too
long and both of us too lazy to throw it out."

When I read that I knew that despite myself I had to take this one slowly and savor it instead of rushing to find out what happens in the end. There were a lot of moments like that.

The story follows the life of Carmen La Coja, a flamenco dancer who has polio: her love affairs, family, and life after dancing. It's a first person narration and I love the insight into Carmen's head, especially what she has to say about her relationship with her mother, and her own surgeon-like precise observations of those around her.

The ending threw me, I wasn't expecting the seemingly fairy-tale all-is-well sort of thing, but isn't everyone tired of the tragic heroine line too? What's a writer to do? Ambiguousness? A blend of two? All three? Is that even possible? At first, I was upset about her love life ended up (no spoilers), but after some more thought, she got exactly what she wanted and there's nothing wrong with that, especially after her numerous unfilled desires.


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