Senora Rodriguez dips into her purse, and there's no telling what she'll come up with - a sticky lollipop, a phone bill, or a rosary; a reminder of daily life, a bit of family history, a personal talisman, or...who knows? ...a token into another world altogether. Such are the surprises and possibilities, the unpredictability and warm familiarity of Martha Cerda's magical novel. Senora Rodriguez and her family are placed shoulder-to-shoulder and page-to-page with strangers, acquaintances, and a host of importune, if not impertinent, stories: the profound distortions wrought in a woman's life by the oppressive presence of her maid; the furore caused by a premenstrual pimple; the flashbacks and chaotic grief Judas Iscariot experiences at the moment of his death; the disruption surrounding the appearance of a supposed member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. A bestselling writer, widely celebrated in her native Mexico, Martha Cerda defines her own turn along the path of Latin American magical realism. In this novel, the feminine, the practical, and the earthy blend with the fantastic and phantasmagoric. Tragedy and playfulness, sophistication and naivety mingle. What is at once a comedy of manners, a delightful collection of loosely related anecdotes, stories, sketches, and epiphanies, is also an artful entree into several literary and philosophical questions - the relationship between language and reality and the power of one to create and alter the other; the link between chaos and different forms of organisation that pass for order. This heady mixture - complex, irreverent, and surreal - will enchant American readers, and introduce them to the local charms and universal appeal of a remarkable Mexican author.
Duke University Press
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