Thursday, February 15, 2007

Book Review

Browsing the library new books shelf I found The Rainforest by Alicia Steimberg. Never before heard of either the book or the author, but I was intrigued by the cover and by the fact that she is a Latin American author. I tend to enjoy Latin American writing.
I read the novel quickly, it is only 134 pages long. Cecelia is 60 years old or nearly 60 and is convalescing at a spa in the rainforest. The novel switches between this idyllic setting and Buenos Aires, where Cecelia lives, works and writes. Cecelia is recovering both from the trauma of the death of her husband 8 years before, and life with her drug addicted and violent son Federico. She meets a man from California, named Steve, and they have an affair.
Throughout we artfully move from Cecelia's reflections on her past (scenes from her childhood, from her marriage and from her conflicts with her son) to what is occurring in the present time of the novel (the love affair, the rainforest retreat, her writing). This tension carries us swiftly through the book.
Steimberg's novel Call Me Magdelena has also been translated into English and both books are available from the University of Nebraska Press.

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