Each of the novel’s characters carries the residues of an initial love and its shattered illusions; these go on to shape the relationships that follow ... The characters lurch from beginning to beginning, always bringing the past with them. Yanique inhabits many of their divergent points of view ... Themes of race, religion, class, and education appear throughout this ambitious novel, but its abiding focus is on the intimate, and the way broader social forces can impinge upon it ... Yanique...retains only echoes of the magical realism that influenced her first novel. Rather, reality assumes a surreal tinge, and the fluidity of narration, across time, place, and characters, imparts an epic register to the intimate encounter between Stela and Fly. Though this episodic mode can, at times, diminish the novel’s narrative tension, the drama of its last fifty pages proves ample compensation.
Yanique inventively juxtaposes the start of a new relationship with family histories in this sumptuous saga ... Each arc reads as an evocative short story and an episode in the two protagonists’ complex set of unraveled connections. This introspective exploration of first and lasting loves will hit the spot with fans of character-driven family dramas.
The idea isn’t new, but the gifted Yanique...shapes it into something unique and memorable as she considers the effects of cultural disconnection on desire and love ... Look to your roots, Yanique urges us, and maybe you’ll see the outline of your future ... A rich and honest examination of family histories, cultural disconnection, and the way people fall in love.