In this memoir, Ingrid Rojas Contreras examines the violence that has impacted her family since the Spanish invasion of pre-colonial Colombia, and the perseverance of her indigenous heritage in the magical practices that have been carried through the (male) generations. Meditations on memory, trauma, beliefs, and history are both lyrical and thought-provoking, especially when Rojas Contreras laser focuses on her relationship with her mercurial mother and their mirror-image experiences with amnesia and supernatural experiences.
A Korean-American physicist goes as far as a research facility in Antarctica to escape the reach of her family and the mental illness that has been passed down through the generations. But when a literal ghost of her past appears in the snow, its beckoning from beyond pushes her to return home to a catatonic mother who left behind scribblings and carvings of their inherited folklore. Is it the ramblings of a troubled woman, or the secret revelations of a lost sister left behind in Korea?
This book is quietly nuanced in its message and slow to unfold, but never boring. It's a mystery grown from a family drama, which builds on a dust bowl history lesson, all surrounding the Lorax's stump--with drops of irrepressible hope leaking between each regretful and foreboding ring. Christie skillfully draws eerie parallels between generations and environmental catastrophes, but what's even more impressive is how he will simultaneously warm your heart and make it ache with each of the 4 points of view.
Focused on the intertwined lives of a Mexican-American family and the final birthday of their dying but defiant patriarch, Urrea's story of the Mexican diaspora is both heartbreaking and hopeful.