Local author Laura van den Berg talks to Valeria Luiselli about her new novel.
"An extraordinary new literary talent." -- The Daily Telegraph
"In part a portrait of the artist as a young woman, this deceptively modest-seeming, astonishingly inventive novel creates an extraordinary intimacy, a sensibility so alive it quietly takes over all your senses, quivering through your nerve endings, opening your eyes and heart. Youth, from unruly student years to early motherhood and a loving marriage -- and then, in the book's second half, wilder and something else altogether, the fearless, half-mad imagination of youth, I might as well call it -- has rarely been so freshly, charmingly, and unforgettably portrayed. Valeria Luiselli is a masterful, entirely original writer." -- Francisco Goldman
The first narrator is much like a 21st century Emily Dickinson, living in Mexico City: an agoraphobic woman who relates to the world vicariously through her children, husband, a past that both overwhelms and liberates her, and a house she cannot abandon nor fully occupy. While she tells the story of her past as a young editor in New York City desperately trying to convince a publisher to translate and publish the works of Gilberto Owen—an obscure Mexican poet who lived in Harlem during the 1920s and whose ghostly presence constantly haunts her in the subway—she relates the slow but inevitable disintegration of her present family life. As the story of her past and present evolves, the novel unfolds into a second novel, told by Owen.