Magical Realism for Non-Believers

Univ. of Minnesota. Apr. 2019. 192p. ISBN 9781517906863. $22.95; ebk. ISBN 9781452960623. MEMOIR
In sometimes meandering but resonant prose, Colombian-born Minnesotan Fajardo weaves memory and scenarios of what could’ve been in this debut memoir centering on biculturalism and reconciliation. Since the author was a child, she wondered about her missing father but was content to embrace her single-parent household as part of her identity. It wasn’t until college that Fajardo began to seek out her Latinx roots and tried to repair the fraught relationship with her philandering father. This journey includes uncovering decades-long family secrets, finding love, becoming a mother, and discovering herself as an artist. The memoir isn’t written in chronological order, which sometimes gives it a haphazard feel, but is in keeping with the author’s connections and parallels to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. Fajardo offers a sometimes distant, arms-length perspective on her native country, which poignantly captures her acknowledged disconnect to her origins. The narrative often leans too heavily on maudlin phrases and flowery language but is also filled with honest and authentic truths about the complex relationship between children and their neglectful parents and the struggle to find one’s place between two cultures.
VERDICT A solid choice for large collections, especially where memoirs are popular.

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