Everyone Knows You Go Home

9 CDs. 10:41 hrs. Brilliance. Mar. 2018. ISBN 9781543626896. $34.99. F
OrangeReviewStarFrankie Corzo ably illuminates Sylvester's (Chasing the Sun) poignant tale of three generations of the Bravo family in their struggle for a better life. On the day of their wedding, Martin and Isabel are visited by Omar, Martin's late father, from whom he was estranged. Martin is not receptive and after that first visit can no longer see Omar as he appears each Day of the Dead. Only Isabel can see him, and he implores her to help him make amends to his family. So begins Isabel's long journey to untangle what happened in the lives of the Bravos. Corzo's matter-of-fact voice and gentle characterizations draw listeners in and helps them to suspend disbelief for the magical realism elements of this story of the struggles immigrant families face. The stories of Martin and Isabel and his parents, Omar and Elda, unfold in parallel, moving back and forth in time. They begin with Omar and Elda's dangerous journey, while pregnant with him, to enter the United States illegally. Time and again happy events are juxtaposed with tragedy. Although they arrive safely, Elda is forced to kill another refugee as he attempts to rape her. Yet soon after they settle in Texas, their son is born, and they begin to create a life. It's a precarious life owing to their status but a happy one. Omar soon leaves the family without explanation and thus begins a lifetime of misunderstanding and regret. Soon after Martin and Isabel's marriage, a teenage nephew from Mexico, Eduardo, arrives and needs their help and shelter. Isabel, honoring Omar's wishes, tries to get the Bravos to talk about him and to reexamine what happened. She makes little headway until Elda becomes ill and her impending death forces the issue.
VERDICT Expertly narrated, this timely multigenerational immigrant story explores the unique challenges families face while examining the corrosiveness of secrets and the redemptive power of forgiveness. Highly recommended.
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