A neurotic young man, self-confined to his bed, reflects on the turning point of his childhood: his mother's disappearance from their home in Mexico City one July afternoon in 1994. He dissects his memories of that fateful summer until a startling discovery shatters his conception of his family's story.
... a counter-formative tale that is both masterfully constructed and poignantly penned. In it, he exposes existential and political conservatism without dealing cheap blows, and introduces readers everywhere to a profoundly relatable narrative voice ... The...novel artfully explores the tension between the classic formative tale and its antithesis ... there’s an overarchingly grim shift from promise to flop. It’s made all the starker by a series of deliciously clever winks from the author ... the novel doesn’t ride on events. It is, at its core, an absorbing character study, driven not just by voice (more on that later) but by a deeply original theme ... local dynamics serve to illustrate broader inequities—notably, the rampant machismo at the heart and loins of Mexican society ... Saldaña París understands that exposure is much more damning than verdict; in this, too, he proves a deeply intelligent writer. I’d hate to give the impression that his brilliance is merely formal, though, riding on the bold subversion of a literary genre—not that that isn’t plenty, but I promised I’d come back to voice ...The novel elegantly straddles slang and lyricism, heartache and humor, young candor and adult nuance, yielding prose that is nothing short of exquisite.
Moving back and forth between the past and present, the narrator charts his emotional state both as an adult and as a child, turning Ramifications into an investigation of memory and feeling. Sensitive and cerebral, the narrator as a ten-year-old turns to origami to calm himself and to exert control over a world that has fallen apart ... Within the small cast, each person is rendered with precision ... a rich, smart, and satisfying rendering of abandonment and loss, whose effects reverberate through time.
Saldaña París crafts Ramifications like a bildungsroman but subverts the genre ... Amongst this, Saldaña París also uses the narrative as a way of probing the reliability of memory and, in the process, casts doubt on the narrator, who pores over the details of the past while openly projecting his adult sentiments on to his childhood experience. The resulting effect is that, as well as being a portrait of arrested development, Ramifications is also a deft examination on the nature of truth.